With backup point guard Brad Wanamaker off to the Golden State Warriors, the Celtics addressed a void in the backcourt by agreeing to a one-year deal with veteran guard Jeff Teague on Saturday.
Teague, 32, is entering his 12th year in the NBA after being selected by the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the draft in 2009. He began last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves and was traded back to the Hawks midseason.
Here are four things to know about Teague:
He is a veteran with years of productivity in the NBA
The 6-foot-3 Teague has averaged double-figure scoring in each of his last nine seasons, including 10.9 points per game last year in 59 games with the Timberwolves and Hawks. Teague’s best season came with Atlanta in 2014-15 when he averaged 15.9 points and 7.0 assists en route to being named an Eastern Conference All-Star. He helped a Hawks team starring Al Horford and Paul Millsap win 60 games and reach the conference finals.
After seven seasons in Atlanta, Teague, who is an Indianapolis native, was traded to the Pacers for the 2016-17 season. He signed a three-year, $57 million deal with the Timberwolves the following offseason.
Teague averaged 13.2 points and 6.1 assists per game last season for Minnesota. He was traded back to the Hawks in January for Allen Crabbe.
Teague backed up Trae Young last season
From 2011-2019, Teague was a starting point guard in the NBA, but last season’s trade to Atlanta thrust him into a backup role behind star point guard Trae Young. Teague’s numbers dipped to 7.7 points and 4.0 assists per game, and averaged 20 minutes per game. However, Teague said he was perfectly happy to play the mentor role for Young and the Hawks’ youthful second unit.
“I can’t be this lucky,” Teague said. “The opportunity to just be a leader and the guys can lean on me a little bit – I can teach, help any way I can and also try to help produce any way I can.”
In Boston, Teague figures to back up starter Kemba Walker and be a presence off the Celtics bench. At 32, he is the longest-tenured NBA player on the roster.
He said he prioritized winning when choosing his next team
Entering free agency, Teague told HoopsHype that joining a winning team was his top priority.
Teague made the postseason in each of his first nine seasons in the NBA, but has missed the playoffs the last two years with Minnesota and Atlanta. He has never reached an NBA Finals.
“Honestly, I just want to go to a team where we’re playing to win. I want to win. Like you’ve said, I’ve been to the playoffs for the first nine years of my career,” Teague said.
“That’s all I know is winning, competing, and trying to get to that ultimate goal of a championship. That’s what I want to play for is to win. If that’s starting or coming off the bench, I just want to play a significant role in winning. That’s really it for me. I know if I get a chance to play and compete, I’m going to play well. I’m not really worried about an exact situation, or I need to be able to start or whatever. I just know if I can get on a team and we’re going to win, I’m going to help in any way, and I’ll affect us winning.”
Teague comes from a basketball family
Teague’s father, Shawn, played basketball at Missouri before transferring to Boston University, where he played point guard under Rick Pitino from 1982-1985.
Meanwhile, Teague’s younger brother, Marquis, was a five-star recruit in 2011 out of Pike High School in Indianapolis. Marquis played for John Calipari at Kentucky and was drafted 29th overall by the Chicago Bulls in the 2012 draft. He played for the Memphis Hustle in the G League last season.
Jeff Teague played college basketball at Wake Forest.