Minnesota Timberwolves forward Chase Budinger could have become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, but Budinger has instead chosen to exercise his $5 million player option for next year, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski.
Budinger has dealt with numerous injuries since coming to the Wolves from the Houston Rockets. He played just 64 games combined in 2012-13 and 2013-14, but he played in 67 games this season.
Budinger saw spotty minutes over the first few months of this year, but his role increased in a big way over the last two months while Minnesota dealt with injuries to seemingly the entire roster. He played 27.0 minutes per game in March and 33.9 minutes per game in April, and he played well.
After the All-Star break, Budinger averaged 11.3 points and 3.9 rebounds in 27.4 minutes per game while shooting 49.2 percent overall and 38.6 percent from three.
Even though Budinger played well to close the year, it’s probably a smart move to opt in to the last year of his deal. With his extensive injury history and uneven play before his solid last few months, he likely wouldn’t have gotten much money in free agency. If he plays well again next year, he could be in line for a nice contract when the cap spikes in 2016.