Milos Teodosic

L.A. Notes: McGee, James, Scott, Teodosic

JaVale McGee is grateful to LeBron James for lobbying the Lakers to sign him, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press reports. The 30-year-old journeyman center is averaging a career-high 13.4 PPG, 6.6 RPG and 2.4 BPG after signing a one-year, $2.93MM contract over the summer. “He could have said get anybody,” McGee said. “It’s just a reassuring feeling, a confidence-builder I guess, knowing that you’re going into a situation wanted as an option, like you’re really wanted. That’s pretty dope.”

We have more on the Lakers and Clippers:

  • The Lakers haven’t proven whether they’re a quality team yet and they’ll need to give James more help than he required in Cleveland if they want to compete for championships, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times opines. James is now in a tougher conference and while he might be able to drag the team into the playoffs, if would be easier if the players around him were more productive, Woike adds.
  • Forward Mike Scott has become a valuable piece on the Clippers’ second unit since signing a one-year, $4.3MM contract over the summer, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times notes. Scott has taken 64.4% of his shots beyond the arc and made 48.9% of them with top reserves Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell drawing most of the defensive attention.
  • Clippers coach Doc Rivers doubts guard Milos Teodosic will wind up in Europe this season, Greif writes in the same piece. Teodosic has expressed frustration over his lack of playing time and speculated he could leave the Clippers before the season’s end despite his $6.3MM contract. Rivers shrugged it off. “We want Milos to be happy, too,” Rivers said. “He’s a great guy and he’s great for this organization. Obviously he hasn’t played the minutes or the way he wants to, but we love him around here, so we’ll figure that all out.”
  • The Lakers are urging point guard Lonzo Ball to stay aggressive on a consistent basis, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

Milos Teodosic Talks About Leaving Clippers

Frustrated over a lack of playing time, Clippers guard Milos Teodosic is thinking about returning to the EuroLeague, possibly before the season ends. In an interview with GlasAmerike (hat tip to Antonis Stroggylakis of EuroHoops), Teodosic sounds ready to end his NBA experiment.

“I think I definitely won’t stay here because … I came, I saw how it looks and somehow … I enjoy more and it’s nicer for me to play in Europe,” he said. “So, I will return to Europe for sure, will it be during this season or at the end, we’ll see.”

To make a move before the end of the season, Teodosic would have to negotiate a release from his $6.3MM contact in Los Angeles. He and the Clippers made a mutual decision this summer that enabled him to return for this season. Teodosic exercised his player option in June, but it was only guaranteed for $2.1MM. L.A. could have saved the rest by waiving him before July 15, but opted to bring him back.
The 31-year-old was a longtime star in Europe before deciding to give the NBA a try last season. However, his brief career in the U.S. has been marked by injuries. He was limited to 45 games last year, then suffered a tear of the plantar fascia in his left foot near the end of the season. He has gotten into just eight games this year and is averaging about 10 minutes per night in a crowded Clippers backcourt.

If he does get out of his NBA contract, Teodosic would be in great demand in Europe, Stroggylakis adds. When he came to the Clippers in the summer of 2017, the Serbian star passed on a three-year, $12MM offer from CSKA Moscow that would have made him the highest-paid player in the EuroLeague.

Pelicans Rumors: Porter, Moore, Bazemore, Lin

Few players have made a bigger impact on their teams this season than Anthony Davis, whose Pelicans have a +10.7 net rating when he’s on the court and a -13.7 rating when he sits. However, Davis could use some help, so Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer devotes his latest article to exploring a number of potential trade options for New Orleans, providing a handful of interesting tidbits along the way.

Let’s dive in and round up the highlights…

  • There are “whispers” that the Pelicans have interest in Wizards forward Otto Porter, according to O’Connor, who believes that Porter could thrive in New Orleans’ up-tempo offense and would fill a major need for the team. While there’s no indication that the two teams have engaged in trade discussions, O’Connor suggests that a package along the lines of Solomon Hill, Julius Randle, and a first-round pick might work.
  • Following up on a report suggesting that the Pelicans offered Nikola Mirotic and a first-round pick to the Timberwolves for Jimmy Butler, O’Connor writes that E’Twaun Moore was included in a version of New Orleans’ offer for Butler. Sources tell O’Connor that the Pels declined to make Jrue Holiday available in those trade talks, and also resisted offering an unprotected 2022 first-round pick.
  • O’Connor identifies Kent Bazemore, Wesley Matthews, James Johnson, Trevor Ariza, and DeMarre Carroll as some other wings and forwards who could be of interest to New Orleans, and who may end up being available. The Pelicans made a play for Bazemore in the offseason, O’Connor notes.
  • Scott Kushner of The Advocate recently argued that the Pelicans could use another playmaker, even when Elfrid Payton is healthy. O’Connor makes a similar point, observing that New Orleans had interest in Jeremy Lin before he signed with the Nets in 2016. Lin could be a trade candidate to watch, according to O’Connor, who points to Milos Teodosic (Clippers) and T.J. McConnell (Sixers) as others to keep an eye on.

Jimmy Butler Returns To Timberwolves’ Practice

Three weeks after his trade request went public, Jimmy Butler returned to the Timberwolves‘ facility and practiced with the team today, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

While Butler’s participation in practice doesn’t necessarily mean a trade won’t happen, it’s another indication that he won’t sit out once the regular season begins next week. Of course, that was never really a realistic option for Butler, since – as ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets – the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement features language that makes a holdout impractical.

According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Butler was vocal during today’s practice, verbally challenging coaches, teammates, and the front office, including Tom Thibodeau, Scott Layden, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins. Woj describes the 29-year-old as “vociferous and emotional at times,” adding in a second tweet that at one point, Butler screamed at Layden, “You (bleeping) need me. You can’t win without me.”

As we relayed earlier today, the Timberwolves reached back out to the Rockets on Tuesday, and the Heat remain interested in rekindling talks with Minnesota, so those trade discussions figure to continue. However, reports throughout the process have indicated that Thibodeau would prefer to see Butler start the season with the Wolves. That scenario appears increasingly plausible now that the All-NBA wing is practicing with his teammates again, though perhaps the obvious tension in practice will make Thibodeau reconsider his stance.

Here are a few more of the latest notes on Butler:

  • Besides their discussions with the Heat, the Timberwolves have had no “serious, active talks” with any other team about Butler, league sources tell Wojnarowski.
  • According to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, the Nets have been “timid” in their approach toward pursuing Butler, and have made Caris LeVert unavailable. Deveney also confirms that the Clippers are unwilling to include Tobias Harris in any offers, having instead proposed deals headlined by Danilo Gallinari or some combination of other players, such as Patrick Beverley, Milos Teodosic, and others.
  • Some league executives who spoke to Deveney expressed reservations about Butler’s potential locker room fit. “As good as Jimmy is, I think you have to be concerned about the impact he is going to have in the locker room, on your younger guys, on your coaching staff, all of that,” one general manager said. “He has gotten the benefit of the doubt, but if you look at his history, he’s had trouble getting along in Chicago and now in Minnesota. Everywhere he goes, it becomes about Jimmy, and if you’re going to bring him in, you have to account for that.”
  • Earlier today, we passed along details on the Timberwolves‘ discussions with the Rockets.

Pacific Notes: Stephenson, Teodosic, Boban, Booker

When LeBron James joined the Lakers, several other seasoned veterans followed suit. While Los Angeles was not able to lure another high-priced free agent alongside James, the team did sign experienced players who all fill specific roles.

Longtime Indiana Pacer Lance Stephenson, a noted on-court nemesis of James, was one of the first players to sign. Speaking a party to say farewell to Indianapolis, Stephenson told The Indianapolis Star that he did not personally hear from James but was aware of his interest.

Magic (Johnson) called me and he told me LeBron was interested, very interested in me,” Stephenson said.

Stephenson, 27, is coming off a year in which he played all 82 games for the first time in his career. He averaged 9.2 PPG and 5.2 RPG for Indiana off the bench while providing his usual hard-nosed yet quirky style of play.

“Give me a few hours to make this decision,” Stephenson said he told Johnson. “I decided to go there and, hopefully, we will win a lot of games and have fun.”

Check out more Pacific Division notes below:

  • Clippers players Milos Teodosic and Boban Marjanovic have decided not to join the Serbian national team for September’s FIBA World Cup qualifiers, head coach Sasha Djordjevic confirmed to Novosti.rs (via Sportando).
  • The Clippers‘ quest for a new arena took a positive step forward on Friday, as lawmakers approved a bill that would streamline the process, Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register writes.
  • Suns guard Devin Booker is off to a strong start in his career and he only sees better things ahead. Speaking to a group of 300 kids at a youth camp, Booker said that he feels the playoffs are within reach, given the team’s acquisitions and young talent, Greg Moore of the AZCentral.com writes. “I want to build my own legacy here in Phoenix,” Booker said. “I feel like I’m off to a pretty good start. Just gotta keep going. Turn these losses into wins and make the playoffs and go from there.”

Pacific Rumors: Lakers, Mykhailiuk, Kings’ Hires, Teodosic

The Lakers can improve their 3-point shooting in a variety of ways during the upcoming season, as Mark Trudell of the Lakers’ website details. While the Lakers didn’t add quality shooters in free agency to compliment LeBron James, they have some other options who can help them greatly improve upon their second-to-last showing from long range, Trudell continues. Brandon IngramKentavious Caldwell-PopeJosh Hart and Kyle Kuzma shot 38.5% or better on threes after the All-Star break last season, Trudell notes. Rookies Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Moe Wagner can help in that area, and the playmaking of  James and Rajon Rondo can also facilitate more open looks from deep, Trudell adds.

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

  • Mykhailiuk will play for the Ukranian national team in the FIBA World Cup qualifying tournament next month, according to the Ukranian Federation, Oleksandr Proshuta tweets. Mykhailiuk is paying for his own insurance in case he’s injured during the event, Proshuta adds.
  • The Kings announced a number of hires to the front office staff in a team press releaseTeena Murray has been named Senior Director of Athlete Health and Performance. Other hires to the training staff include Mike Roncarati as Head of Prevention and Reconditioning; Joe Resendez as Head Athletic Trainer; Jesse Green as Performance Analyst. Other additions and promotions include Elizabeth Ramsey as Director of Basketball Operations and Intelligence; Gene Cross as Director of Amateur Scouting; Chris Alpert and Acie Law as regional scouts; and Robbie Lemons as Scouting Coordinator.
  • A decision on whether Clippers guard Milos Teodosic and center Boban Marjanovic will play for Serbia’s national team during the FIBA World Cup qualifying tournament in September will be made this week, according to a Sportando report. Serbia plays Greece and Estonia in the event.

Clippers To Retain Milos Teodosic

Milos Teodosic will stick with the Clippers after all, according to Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times, who reports (via Twitter) that the Clips “really like” the point guard, who will return on the second year of his two-year deal with the club.

Teodosic and the Clippers agreed to that two-year deal in the summer of 2017, but after a guaranteed first-season salary, the second year was structured a little differently. While the 31-year-old exercised his $6.3MM player option in June, that option was only guaranteed for $2.1MM, and at least one report suggested that Los Angeles may cut the point guard before his July 15 guarantee deadline to save $4MM+.

According to that Sportando report, the Clippers had some concern over the health of Teodosic’s foot. The longtime EuroLeague star a tear of the plantar fascia in his left foot near the end of the 2017/18 campaign, ending his season early.

L.A. also has a crowded backcourt, with Teodosic, Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Lou Williams, Jawun Evans, and Sindarius Thornwell on track to return while lottery picks Jerome Robinson and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander join the mix. Retaining Teodosic increases the team’s roster count to 17 players, with restricted free agent Montrezl Harrell still unsigned.

Still, the Clippers apparently liked what they saw from Teodosic in 2017/18 enough to keep him around for another year. Teodosic had a solid NBA rookie season after a successful run in Europe, averaging 9.5 PPG, 4.6 APG, and 2.8 RPG with a .419/.379/.848 shooting line. He was limited to just 45 games due to injuries.

Western Rumors: Warriors, Hammon, Suns, Clippers

With no cap room available this summer, the mid-level exception represents the Warriors‘ best chance of signing a free agent who can become a part of the club’s rotation. However, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic details, it’s not a lock that Golden State will use its full taxpayer MLE, which figures to be worth approximately $5.3MM in 2018/19.

“It depends,” general manager Bob Myers said earlier this week when asked about the possibility of using that mid-level exception. “[Warriors owner] Joe [Lacob] has always shown a high level of aggressiveness. So if it makes sense for us and if it helps us win, he’s always said yes. But that’ll be the markers that have to be met.”

Because the Warriors project to be well over the luxury-tax threshold next season, a player signed using the MLE figures to cost exponentially more than $5.3MM due to the tax penalties. So if the Dubs do use the exception, they’ll want to do it on a player who they feel is worth a $15-20MM investment. Avery Bradley, Tyreke Evans, Trevor Ariza, Will Barton, and J.J. Redick are some potential targets mentioned by Slater, though those players figure to receive larger offers on the open market.

Here are a few more items from around the Western Conference:

  • The Spurs have promoted Becky Hammon to a role on the front of the team’s bench, the club announced on Wednesday in a press release. According to the club, Hammon will be taking over the role previously held by James Borrego, who was hired as the Hornets’ new head coach this spring.
  • The Suns will be on the lookout for point guard in free agency, but John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 doesn’t think Rajon Rondo or Marcus Smart are likely to end up in Phoenix, and essentially rules out the possibility of the team pursuing Milos Teodosic (Twitter links).
  • The Clippers have worked out several free agents who had been playing overseas, a source tells international basketball reporter David Pick (Twitter link). In addition to Chris Babb, whose workout was previously reported, the club also took a look at Quincy Miller, Victor Rudd, and others, according to Pick.
  • In a piece for The Oklahoman, Erik Horne takes a look at several potential luxury-tax scenarios for the Thunder, depending on whether players like Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, and Jerami Grant stay or go.

Clippers’ Milos Teodosic Opts In

Serbian guard Milos Teodosic has opted in for another season with the Clippers, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. However, the decision doesn’t guarantee he will be back in L.A. next year. The final year of Teodosic’s contract carries just a $2.1MM guarantee on his $6.3MM salary if the Clippers waive him by July 15.

L.A. could decide that financial flexibility is preferable to another year of Teodosic, who was limited to 45 games in his rookie season because of injuries. Austin Rivers ($12.7MM) and Wesley Johnson ($6.1MM) have already exercised their options for next year, while DeAndre Jordan has until Friday to decide on his $24.1MM option. The Clippers also have to decide whether to guarantee Patrick Beverley‘s $5MM deal and will be well over the salary cap if all those players remain on the roster.

A report this week says L.A.’s front office is leaning toward unloading Teodosic before the start of free agency, in part due to concerns over a tear of the plantar fascia in his left foot that he suffered late in the season. The 31-year-old said during the year that he likes playing in the NBA, but it’s possible he could return to Europe if he gets a better offer there.

Teodosic averaged 9.5 points and 4.6 assists during his first NBA season, starting 36 of the 45 games.

Milos Teodosic Unlikely To Return To Clippers?

One year after arriving in Los Angeles from the EuroLeague, Milos Teodosic may see his time with the Clippers come to an end. The Clips are leaning toward parting ways with Teodosic this offseason, a league source tells Orazio Cauchi of Sportando.

Teodosic is one of four Clippers with a player option for 2018/19. Wesley Johnson ($6.1MM) has already opted in, but DeAndre Jordan ($24.1MM), Austin Rivers ($12.7MM), and Teodosic ($6.3MM) still have decisions to make.

Teodosic’s situation is somewhat unusual, since his salary will only become partially guaranteed if he exercises his player option. The Clippers would be on the hook for $2.1MM, but could eliminate the remaining $4.2MM from their books if they waive him by July 15, according to Basketball Insiders’ contract data. It’s essentially an informal mutual option — both the player and the team would have to pick up their sides for the veteran point guard to return to L.A. next season.

Teodosic had a solid NBA rookie season after a successful run in Europe, averaging 9.5 PPG, 4.6 APG, and 2.8 RPG with a .419/.379/.848 shooting line. However, he was limited to just 45 games due to injury issues. Concerns over Teodosic’s foot are one reason why the Clippers are considering going in another direction, Cauchi notes. The 31-year-old suffered a tear of the plantar fascia in his left foot near the end of the season, ending his year early.

If the Clippers do decide to waive Teodosic – or if he simply turns down his player option – it’s not clear what his next move would be. He talked during the season about how much he was enjoying his NBA experience, but there’s a growing feeling that he may consider a return to Europe if he becomes a free agent, according to Sportando.