Chase Budinger is no fool.
Budinger has a $5 million player option for next season, the last of a three-year deal he signed with the Timberwolves.
He struggled through injury the first two seasons, and there are still questions about where his athleticism stands now. Plus, he hasn’t come close to matching the 40 percent 3-point shooting he hit the year before the contract.
Though he played well enough down the stretch this season to make opting out at least discussion-worthy, there was effectively no chance he’d make $5 million on the open market next season. So…
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Chase Budinger has exercised the $5 million player option on his contract for the 2015-16 season, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
This is hardly disastrous, but it’s not the ideal outcome for the Timberwolves. They’d certainly prefer to give youngsters Andrew Wiggins and Shabazz Muhammad a majority of wing minutes, and Kevin Martin is still around to eat up the rest.
Minnesota could seek to trade Budinger, as it did last season, but that won’t be easy if he’s not playing.
Most likely, the Timberwolves and Budinger ride out the season, and then Budinger seeks a new – smaller – contract elsewhere in 2016.