Jodie Meeks

Bucks Waive Jodie Meeks

NOVEMBER 25, 10:26am: The move is official, according to a tweet from the team.

NOVEMBER 24, 12:41pm: The Bucks are waiving guard Jodie Meeks in order to maintain their roster at 15 players, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Meeks’ NBA-mandated suspension, which kept him off the team’s roster count while suspended, ends tonight.

As Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes, this move has been expected since the Bucks traded for Meeks in October. Yet, as we detailed earlier this week, the Bucks always had the option to trade or release another player on their roster and keep Meeks in the fold.

Ultimately, however, it appears as though the second-round pick and cash that the Bucks received from the Wizards in the Meeks’ deal was enough incentive for Milwaukee to absorb his salary, and the Bucks didn’t need any contribution from the 31-year-old guard to make the trade for him worth their trouble.

Meeks, a nine-year veteran who has averaged 9.3 points per contest in 531 career games, will now be on the lookout for a new team.

Roster Move Due Soon For Bucks

The Bucks will have to make a roster move in the coming days to ensure that they’re in compliance with NBA rules.

Currently, Milwaukee is carrying 15 players on its standard roster, with a 16th player – Jodie Meeks – on the suspended list. Entering the season, Meeks had 19 games left on the 25-game suspension he received last season, and the Bucks are set to play their 18th game on Friday, followed by their 19th game on Saturday, signaling the end of that suspension.

As long as he’s on the suspended list, Meeks doesn’t count toward Milwaukee’s roster limit, but after Saturday’s game, the team will need to make a move to get back down to the limit. The Bucks’ 20th game will take place on Monday.

The most likely outcome would see the Bucks waive Meeks. When Milwaukee first acquired him from Washington before the start of the regular season, reports suggested that he would likely be released — the Bucks were simply willing to take him from the Wizards because they also received a second-round pick and cash in the deal.

If the Bucks decide they want to keep Meeks in the mix, they could trade or release another player on their roster. However, most of the 31-year-old’s value is tied to his three-point shooting, which dipped to 34.3% in 77 games last season. Milwaukee also already ranks first in the NBA in three-pointers made and attempted per game, so Meeks doesn’t exactly fill a need for the franchise.

Bucks Apply For Teletovic Cap Relief

10:14pm: The Bucks have submitted a petition for cap relief to the league office, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The application is expected to be approved, Woj adds.

10:06am: It has been one full year since Mirza Teletovic last appeared in an NBA game, meaning the Bucks are now eligible to apply to have his remaining cap hits removed from their books, as cap expert Albert Nahmad notes (via Twitter).

Teletovic, who signed a three-year, $30MM contract with Milwaukee in 2016, was limited to 10 games last season due to a medical condition diagnosed as pulmonary emboli in both lungs. He had a similar health scare a few years ago when he developed multiple blood clots in his lungs and has since opted to retire as a player. When the Bucks waived him last season, they stretched his $10.5MM salary for 2018/19 across three seasons.

Given Teletovic’s health problems, the Bucks may be able to eliminate those $3.5MM annual cap charges through 2020/21. In order for Milwaukee to receive that cap relief, an independent physician or a Fitness to Play panel would have to rule that it would be a medically unacceptable risk for the 33-year-old to attempt to return to action.

Removing Teletovic from their cap wouldn’t have a major impact on the Bucks’ situation this season. As Nahmad observes (via Twitter), the club is currently $5.2MM below the luxury tax line, so that difference would increase to $8.7MM without Teletovic. The extra $3.5MM could be more useful in one of the next two seasons if it contributes more directly to the Bucks reducing a potential tax bill or gaining cap room.

While we wait for word on whether Milwaukee applies for and receives cap relief for Teletovic, it’s also worth watching Jodie Meeks‘ situation, Nahmad adds (via Twitter). Meeks, who entered the season having served six games of a 25-game suspension, will remain on Milwaukee’s suspended list through the team’s 19th game of the season, which falls on November 24. At that point, the Bucks will have to trade or waive Meeks or another player on the 15-man roster in order to avoid exceeding the 15-man limit.

Bucks Acquire Jodie Meeks From Wizards

4:45pm: The trade is official, according to an announcement from the Bucks (Twitter link). Milwaukee’s announcement notes that Meeks has been placed on the suspended list, allowing him to avoid counting against the Bucks’ roster limit, so it appears he won’t be waived immediately.

3:34pm: The Bucks and Wizards have agreed to a trade that will send Jodie Meeks to Milwaukee along with cash, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). The Bucks will subsequently waive Meeks, Wojnarowski adds.

Previous reports indicated that the Bucks would also receive a future second-round pick as part of the swap, which Woj confirms (via Twitter). According to Jordan Schultz of ESPN (Twitter link), Milwaukee is expected to send out a heavily-protected second-rounder to complete the deal.

The cash the Bucks receive in the deal will likely be enough to cover most or all of Meeks’ salary for 2018/19, so Milwaukee will get a chance to add a second-round pick for essentially nothing. The Wizards already owe their top-55 protected 2020 second-round pick to the Bucks, so the simplest move would be to just remove the protection from that traded pick.

For the Wizards, the motivation is to reduce their projected luxury tax bill — Meeks’ $3,454,500 cap charge would have been partially reduced as a result of his suspension, which still has 19 games left on it, but that contract would still have cost the Wizards exponentially more in tax penalties. By replacing Meeks with a minimum salary player, Washington will save some money, despite sending cash to the Bucks in the trade.

The Bucks will use a $3,384,176 traded player exception created in last November’s Greg Monroe/Eric Bledsoe trade in order to absorb Meeks’ salary. While that trade exception technically isn’t worth as much as Meeks’ cap hit, the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement allows teams to trade for a salary worth the value of the TPE plus $100K. That gives Milwaukee just enough wiggle room on Meeks.

A part-time player in D.C. last season, Meeks averaged just 6.3 PPG on .399/.343/.863 shooting in 77 games before being banned 25 games for violating the league’s anti-drug program. Even after serving the final 19 games of that suspension, he wasn’t expected to be a major part of the Wizards’ rotation in 2018/19. He’ll be on the lookout for a new team once he clears waivers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Wizards Notes: Meeks, Porter, Howard, Wall

As the season nears, Wizards guard Jodie Meeks is still awaiting word on his suspension appeal, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Meeks was docked 25 games at the end of last season for a reported violation of the NBA’s drug policy. He has already served six games and is hoping to have the penalty reduced. If it isn’t, he won’t be eligible to play until November 26.

“Nothing’s changed,” Meeks said. “I’m preparing like I’m going to play [in] Game 1. So, still in the appeal process. I can’t really talk a whole lot about it, but all I can do is prepare like I’m going to play.”

Meeks signed with the Wizards last summer in hopes of bringing some much-needed firepower to the reserve unit. However, he shot less than 40% from the field and averaged just 6.3 points per game. After testing positive for for ipamorelin and growth hormone-releasing peptide-2, he was forced to miss the playoff series with the Raptors. Meeks contends he’s innocent and filed a formal appeal of the suspension September 13.

There’s more today out of Washington:

  • The Wizards are experimenting with a small-ball lineup that includes Otto Porter at center, Buckner adds in a separate story. Porter has never played the position and doesn’t really have the physique for it at 6’8″ and 205 pounds, but it could become an option in the team’s quest for versatility. “The more playmakers that we can put on the floor, I think it’s going to be better for us,” coach Scott Brooks said. “The league is so small, there’s times you can go with maybe four guards and a big or Otto at the five. There’s all kinds of lineups you can do now.”
  • John Wall‘s recruiting played a role in Dwight Howard‘s decision to join the Wizards, but the center also recognizes the value of winning a title with the franchise instead of joining a team like the Warriors, relays Chase Hughes of NBC Sports“I just think Golden State, they’ve won a couple championships in the past couple of years,” Howard said. “So, me going there and winning it’s like ‘well, you went to a team that’s already won.’  In D.C., I think the last time the Wizards won they were the Bullets if I’m not mistaken. So, I think that impact would be bigger for the city.”
  • Bringing a title to Washington is also a priority for Wall, who tells Hughes in a separate piece that his career would be a “failure” without one.

Wizards Notes: Brown, Mahinmi, Meeks, Go-Go

Rookie swingman Troy Brown has multiple skills and can handle multiple positions, but he’ll have to battle for playing time at each one, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The 15th player selected in this year’s draft, Brown excels at handling the ball, passing, rebounding and playing defense. The Wizards were happy with his performance in the Las Vegas Summer League, where he spent time at point guard as well as his more natural positions of shooting guard and small forward.

However, the 19-year-old won’t have an easy path toward getting minutes at any of those spots. All-stars John Wall and Bradley Beal are entrenched as the starting backcourt, and Austin Rivers was picked up in an offseason trade to provide depth. Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre will see most of the playing time at small forward, along with free agent addition Jeff Green.

Hughes suggests that Washington may see Brown as a long-term prospect and could use him at both the G League and NBA levels this season.

There’s more out of Washington:

  • The Wizards got to see more of backup center Ian Mahinmi last season, but not enough to justify his sizable contract, Hughes states in a separate piece. Injuries forced Mahinmi to miss 51 games in his first season after signing a four-year, $64MM deal, but he rebounded to play 77 games last year. He will remain the backup center after Washington signed Dwight Howard to replace Marcin Gortat, who was traded to the Clippers. Howard averages more minutes per game, which will limit Mahinmi’s role, as will the use of smaller lineups that could feature Markieff Morris or Green at center.
  • Jodie Meeks and Jason Smith will both be trying to improve after disappointing seasons, Hughes adds in another story. Meeks appeared in 77 games last year after two injury-filled seasons, but his numbers were down sharply in every category from his best years. He will start this season by serving the remaining 19 games of a 25-game suspension for a violation of the league’s drug program. Smith was healthy last year, but was only used in 33 games, and the addition of Green will continue to block his playing time. Both players will be free agents next summer.
  • Candace Buckner of The Washington Post chronicles today’s tryouts for the Capital City Go-Go, Washington’s new G League affiliate. Ninety-three players showed up in hopes of winning one or two invitations to the new team’s training camp.

Wizards’ Jodie Meeks Exercises Player Option

Wizards shooting guard Jodie Meeks has opted in for the 2018/19 season, exercising the second-year player option on his contract, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

[RELATED: NBA Player Option Decisions for 2018/19]

Meeks’ option is worth $3,454,500, though he won’t earn that full amount since he still has to serve the remaining 19 games on his 25-game suspension. The veteran sharpshooter received the 25-game ban at the end of the regular season for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy. As a result, he sat out the Wizards’ six-game playoff series against Toronto.

The league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement calls for a player who receives a suspension of 20 or more games to forfeit 1/110th of his salary per game. As such, Meeks’ 2018/19 salary will be reduced by nearly $600K.

[RELATED: Five Key Offseason Questions: Washington Wizards]

Meeks, 30, signed a two-year contract with the Wizards last summer, as the team hoped he could provide some outside shooting off the bench following Bojan Bogdanovic‘s departure. While Meeks was a regular rotation piece throughout the season, averaging 14.5 MPG in 77 contests, he struggled a little with his three-point shot. His 0.9 threes per game and .343 3PT% were the lowest marks he had posted since his rookie season.

Meeks is the second Wizards to pick up a player option this offseason, with Jason Smith also exercising his $5.45MM option. Combined with Washington’s guaranteed contracts, those options take the club’s total team salary above $124MM for next season. A taxpaying team in 2017/18, the Wizards will likely have to trim some salary to avoid being in the tax again in 2018/19.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

John Wall Displeased With Wizards’ Roster?

Fresh off a loss to the Raptors in Game 6 of the First Round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, Wizards’ point guard John Wall spoke at length on Saturday about changes he’d like to see to the Wizards’ roster next season, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. When asked what type of players should be added to the roster, Wall pulled no punches, yet was quick to assure that his postseason evaluation was not directed at any particular teammates.

“There’s a lot that we can use. I really don’t have to say certain positions. There are certain things that people who have been around the team understand what we could use to help our team. It’s not throwing shade to anybody that is on our team because everyone that is on our roster gave everything they have to make it work and fit with the team, but at the same time, when it’s not working and then you try and you try and you try and it keeps failing over and over, then you have to make certain adjustments and certain changes.”

Wall further elaborated, telling reporters he is in support of the Wizards bringing in an “athletic big”, which could of course be interpreted as a slight at Marcin Gortat, who clashed with Wall when Wall was injured earlier this season, and little-used big man Ian Mahinmi who, in hindsight, was grossly overpaid in the spend-happy summer of 2016. Combined, Gortat and Mahinmi will make just north of $29.5MM next season.

Unfortunately for the Wizards, adding worthwhile free agents this offseason, per Wall’s imploring, will be no easy task. Washington already has nearly $116MM tied up in guaranteed contracts for 2018/19, not counting player options for Jason Smith and Jodie Meeks. Should both players opt in, the Wizards payroll would reach $124.8MM – $1.8MM more than next year’s projected luxury tax threshold of $123MM and nearing the apron – before free agency even begins.

Given that the $124.8MM figure only includes 10 players, the Wizards best tool will likely be their taxpayer mid-level exception, which is projected to be about $3.3MM less than the non-taxpayer mid-level exception and limited to three seasons rather than four. Players looking to cash in on a MLE deal this offseason stand to make about an additional $19.2MM over the life of a non-taxpayer MLE contract, thereby lessening the Wizards’ chances of luring meaning free agents to the nation’s capital this summer. For his part, Wall thinks players should nevertheless entertain the idea of coming to Washington.

“I think those guys that are watching and seeing understand what they can add and what we might need to make our team better to finally get over the second round or get through the first round like we didn’t this year.”

Wizards Notes: Gortat, Porter, Oubre, Meeks, More

Bradley Beal and John Wall expressed a belief near the start of the 2017/18 season that the Wizards were the team to beat in the East, but the club ultimately finished eighth in the conference, and lasted just six games in the postseason. After their early exit from the playoffs, the Wizards are left searching for answers about what went wrong over the course of the season, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington details. Hughes spoke to Beal, Markieff Morris, and Ian Mahinmi about the club’s shortcomings, with Mahinmi noting that roster continuity didn’t really pay off for Washington in ’17/18.

“When you’re talking about continuity, it’s supposed to be better. You expect better. I feel like we didn’t do better than last year,” Mahinmi said. “It’s hard. I love those guys, but we have our issues. Unless we work those issues out, we’re gonna continue to struggle at times. We’re gonna continue to not be consistent. We definitely have to have good communication this summer. Before looking elsewhere we have look at each other and be honest.

“I feel like we might not have identified the real issues,” Mahinmi added.

As the Wizards look to identify their “real issues,” here are a few more notes out of D.C….

  • Wizards center Marcin Gortat, never shy about sharing what’s on his mind, implored teammates Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre Jr. to spend the offseason bulking up, per Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. “Skill-set wise, [Porter]’s unbelievable. He’s got everything. He can rebound. He can shoot the ball. He can post up. He can pass. He can definitely defend, if he’s healthy,” Gortat said. “As I told him and I told Kelly, they’ve both got to improve in the weight room. They’ve got to get into the weight room.”
  • Asked if he’d work on improving his shooting range in the offseason, Gortat dismissed the idea that he needs to modernize his game by shooting three-pointers, as Buckner relays. “I truly believe I’m a solid, good shooter up to 15, 17 feet. But I’m not going to shoot threes,” Gortat said. “No, I’m not going to do that. I want to go into the paint. Body people. Be physical. Get scratches. Bleed. That’s how I made a living in for 11 years, and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to pop on the three-point line and shoot threes. I’m not going to do that. I’ve got one more year left. I’m going to try to play as best as I can.”
  • The Wizards’ front office will have its work cut out for it this offseason as it looks to improve the roster, ESPN’s Bobby Marks writes in an Insider-only piece. Marks wonders if Washington has enough confidence in Oubre to consider the possibility of trading Porter, and notes that Gortat and Morris will be entering the last year of their respective contracts.
  • In a pair of tweets, Marks breaks down how Jodie Meekssuspension will affect his earnings and the Wizards’ tax bill. As Marks observes, Washington will be on the hook for approximately $7MM in tax payments for 2017/18.
  • Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com takes a closer look at Ty Lawson‘s unexpected return to an NBA rotation role for the playoffs. Lawson spent the season in China before signing with the Wizards on the last day of the NBA regular season.

Wizards’ Jodie Meeks Faces 25-Game Suspension

2:01pm: Meeks has issued a statement to ESPN indicating that he’s surprised by his suspension and intends to fight it, as Wojnarowski relays.

“Because I have never used a drug of any kind I am absolutely heartbroken and perplexed with the news today,” Meeks said in his statement. “Let me clear: I have never taken anything whatsoever for a performance-enhancing reason. I respect the game of basketball too much.

“I look forward to exercising my rights under the (NBA’s) collective bargaining agreement to bring this matter to arbitration and to clear my name in relation to this wrongful accusation.”

12:25pm: The NBA will suspend Wizards sharpshooter Jodie Meeks for 25 games for violating the league’s anti-drug program, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Barring an unexpectedly lengthy postseason run for Washington, the ban will keep Meeks out of action until sometime in the 2018/19 season.

Meeks tested positive for two banned compounds, Ipamorelin and Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide-2, sources told Wojnarowski. The veteran guard intends to fight the suspension, lawyer Ben Levine told Wojnarowski.

“It is regrettable that the NBA has prematurely taken action against Jodie today,” Levine said. “Accordingly, we will appeal the suspension and vigorously defend Jodie’s rights. Unfortunately, under the CBA, a player is guilty until proven innocent and while Jodie’s appeal is pending he will be forced to sit out the playoffs.”

Meeks, 30, was a regular contributor off the Wizards’ bench this season, averaging 6.3 PPG on .399/.343/.863 shooting in 77 games (14.5 MPG). Washington will have to look elsewhere to fill those minutes during the club’s first-round series against the top-seeded Raptors.

According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the suspension will cost Meeks just shy of $30K per game during the postseason, with the Wizards picking up about $22K per game in tax savings. Meeks would serve the remaining games on the suspension to open the 2018/19 season. Assuming he exercises his $3.5MM player option to stick with the Wizards, Meeks would lose about $31K per game via the suspension next season, Marks notes.

Per the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, most suspensions only cost a player 1/145th of his annual salary per game, but bans that exceed 20 games – like Meeks’ – cost the player 1/110th of his salary per game.