The Minnesota Timberwolves made the decision on five players’ options with the club on Sunday night, exercising fourth-year options on Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine, as well as third-year options on Karl-Anthony Towns and Tyus Jones. These decisions were basically a formality, but notably, the team also chose not to pick up the fourth-year option of 2014 first-round pick Adreian Payne.
The decision not to pick up Payne’s option means the third-year forward will become a free agent at season’s end. He was taken in the 2014 first round by the Atlanta Hawks with the 15th overall pick out of Michigan State, where he was a two-time Second-Team All-Big Ten selection.
Payne isn’t expected to see much time with the Wolves this season, as he’s been a disappointment in his young career and is buried on the depth chart. He was traded to Minnesota during his rookie season and has appeared in 84 games over his first two seasons in the league, averaging 4.1 points and 3.3 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per game.
Jones is getting his option picked up while trade rumors swirl around him. The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported this weekend that the Wolves are engaged in trade talks on the young point guard, with the Philadelphia 76ers one specific team mentioned. The team will start the season with Ricky Rubio manning the point-guard spot, although he too has been involved in trade talks thanks to the selection of fellow point guard Kris Dunn with the fifth pick in the 2016 draft. Minnesota also has veteran point guard John Lucas III on the roster.
Jones was taken 24th overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers before a draft-night deal sent him to Minnesota. The second-year player won a National Championship in his only season of college while at Duke, but he struggled in his rookie season before earning Summer League MVP honors this offseason.