Chase Budinger

Report: Timberwolves sign Tayshaun Prince


The Timberwolves re-signed Kevin Garnett and signed Andre Miller.

Enough veteran leadership on the young team?

Not for Flip Saunders.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

Saunders coached Tayshaun Prince on the Pistons, but that was a long time ago. Prince, 35, is an even more methodical player and no longer an elite wing defender.

Still, his length and intelligence make him a capable defender. He can make jumpers, too, and he’s a solid passer for his position (though he bogs down the offense with the ball in his hands).

Prince played reasonably well for the Celtics and Pistons last season after the Grizzlies traded him, so he might have a little juice left. He was in over his head in Memphis, often starting for a fringe contender.

That shouldn’t be the case in Minnesota. He’ll fill a limited role, provide a good example for the team’s younger players and sometimes take minutes that slow the development of Shabazz Muhammad, Anthony Bennett and Nemanja Bjelica. (Andrew Wiggins is getting the same playing time regardless.)

There’s an outside but realistic chance the Timberwolves can compete for a playoff spot. For that reason, signing Prince makes sense. Minnesota wouldn’t want to find out later it was a veteran on the wing away from the postseason. If the Timberwolves fall from the race, Saunders can always turn more toward developing younger players.

Prince gives Minnesota 17 players – two more than the regular-season roster limit. The most likely cuts are Lorenzo Brown ($75,000 guaranteed) and Damjan Rudez (acquired in the Chase Budinger salary dump). Perhaps, the Timberwolves can trade Rudez and get something for him or deal another player in a more significant move. But they have to do something to trim the roster.

Report: Minnesota to trade Chase Budinger to Indiana for Damjan Rudez


Indiana wanted some depth and athleticism in the wing behind likely starters Monta Ellis and Paul George, so they went out and traded for it.

Indiana has acquired Chase Budinger from the Timberwolves in a trade, reports Adrian Wojnaorski of Yahoo Sports.

I like this deal better for the Timberwolves.

You may not recognize the name Damjan Rudez but here’s what you should know: The guy can shoot the rock. He’s a 6’10” Croation who can play the three or stretch four, and shot 40 percent from three as a rookie last year playing 15 minutes a night. While the Timberwolves have depth at the three and four slots — Andrew Wiggins, Shabazz Muhammad, Kevin Garnett, Gorgui Dieng and others — you can never have enough shooting. Rudez is going to get some minutes and hit some buckets.

Budinger can shoot the ball, but he has lost some of his trademark athleticism after years of injuries, which limited him to 67 games last season. He averaged 6.8 points and three rebounds in 19 minutes a night when he did play, plus he shot almost 37 percent from three. That lack of athleticism has hurt Budinger’s defense as well in recent years.

However, near the end of the season (the last couple months) Budinger seemed to have some of his bounce back and with that was a pretty good player. In the final six weeks of the season, he averaged 12.3 points and shot 39 percent from three, playing 29 minutes a night. If that’s the guy the Pacers can get for an entire season this will be a good trade for them.

It’s just, with his injury history, it’s hard to bet on it.

Al-Farouq Aminu says he’ll opt out of contract with Mavericks


Al-Farouq Aminu is no fool.

That will take him down the opposite road of fellow-non-fool Chase Budinger, who opted into the final season of his contract.

Unlike Budinger, who’s due $5 million next season, Aminu – a Mavericks forward – is due just his $1,100,602 minimum in his player-option season.

Michael Florek of The Dallas Morning News:

Aminu said on Wednesday that he’d decline his option be a free agent this summer.

“I think it makes the most sense to me,” he said. “You just look for a great fit. This year, I think I found one. Hopefully, I can do the same.”

Is money important?

“I would hope to think so,” Aminu said.

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Aminu outplayed a minimum contract all season, but he really reached another in the playoffs. In Dallas’ loss to the Rockets, he averaged 11.2 points (making 17-of-31 shots, including 7-of-11 3-pointers), 7.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.6 blocks in 30.0 minutes per game. He also spent significant time guarding James Harden reasonably effectively considering Harden is an MVP candidate.

I doubt Aminu can maintain those numbers – especially the outside shooting – but considering he’s just 24, there’s hope this was a breakout performance rather than an aberration.

At minimum, Aminu should continue to display his defensive versatility. At 6-foot-9, can guard power forwards, small forward and shooting guards. I wouldn’t hesitate to put him on point guards or centers in stretches. That makes him an ideal fit as teams increasingly look to switch on defense.

I expect Aminu to get multiple offers in the mid-level exception range – taxpayer: $3,376,000, non-taxpayer: $5,464,000 – and I’d hardly be surprised if a team went over the top to ensure landing him.

Will it be the Mavericks? They have to figure out Tyson Chandler and Monta Ellis, and they have their eyes on bigger fish like DeAndre Jordan and LaMarcus Aldridge. I’m sure Dallas wants to keep Aminu, but he’s the type of player who slips through the cracks. Just look how the Mavericks got him last year.

Nobody’s getting Aminu for the minimum this year, though. He’ll fetch well more than that, which is why opting out was the clear right move.

Chase Budinger opts into final year of contract with Timberwolves


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…

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

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.

Chase Budinger and Jordan Clarkson exchange clutch points that harm their teams (video)


The Lakers deny tanking, and so do the Timberwolves.

But both teams should be jockeying for draft position. That outweighs the value of a March win in a lost season.

The Lakers, who entered the game with the NBA’s fourth-worst record, faced second-worst Minnesota tonight.

Trying to hold a three-point lead late in regulation, the Lakers played horrendous defense and allowed Chase Budinger an open corner 3-pointer:

That gave the Lakers another chance to blow the game in overtime, but Jordan Clarkson destroyed the Lakers’ ability to make up lottery ground with his clutch free throws:

I know Budinger and Clarkson aren’t tanking. Why would they help their team draft a player who could replace them?

But both, through no fault of their own, hurt their franchises tonight. Clarkson just did so a little more.