Mirza Teletovic

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.

Mirza Teletovic To Retire

Veteran NBA forward Mirza Teletovic is retiring as a player, tweets Alberto De Roa of HoopsHype. According to De Roa, Teletovic has accepted an offer to become the new president of the Bosnian Basketball Federation. The 33-year-old confirmed his new career path in a statement (Bosnian link via BHBasket.ba).

Teletovic, who started last season with the Bucks, was limited to 10 games 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.

When reports surfaced in the winter suggesting that Teletovic’s playing career was likely over, the six-year NBA veteran denied it. However, he was waived by Milwaukee the following week and his retirement decision appears to be motivated by those health issues.

Once a full year has passed since the date of Teletovic’s last NBA game (November 7), the Bucks could apply to have his remaining cap hits – $3.5MM annually through 2020/21 – removed from their books. The Heat took a similar approach with Chris Bosh when he was ruled medically ineligible to return to action. An independent physician or a Fitness to Play panel would have to rule that it would be a medically unacceptable risk for Teletovic to return to action in order for the Bucks to receive any cap relief.

Over the course of his NBA career, Teletovic averaged 8.1 PPG and 3.2 RPG in 324 regular season contests with the Nets, Suns, and Bucks. The veteran stretch four played internationally for several years before making the leap to the NBA, including spending six seasons with Spanish club Baskonia. He earned All-ACB honors in 2012 before arriving stateside.

Central Notes: Cavaliers, Osman, Teletovic, Payne

Today will bring the Cavaliers’ first look at Isaiah Thomas since trading him to the Lakers last month, notes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Thomas became a scapegoat for all that went wrong in Cleveland through the first half of this season. He was expected to take the place of Kyrie Irving as one of the centerpieces of the deal with the Celtics, but a lingering hip injury, poor shooting and a questionable effort on defense caused the Cavs to unload him as part of a roster makeover at the deadline.

There weren’t many people in Cleveland who were sad to see Thomas leave, but former teammate Jeff Green still maintains a relationship with him.

“I wanted him to do well,” Green said. “I watched him from his early on days in Sacramento and Phoenix. And what he did in Boston was remarkable for that organization, and I wanted him to succeed. I wanted him to get what he deserves, and also, that max deal and being on a winning team and winning a championship. But, you know, it didn’t happen, it didn’t work out, and I’m still rooting for him to do well. Just not against us.”

There’s more news from the Central Division:

  • Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman will be sidelined for about two weeks with a left hip flexor strain, the team announced on its website. An MRI confirmed the damage Saturday after the injury forced him out of Friday’s game with the Clippers.
  • The Bucks will have to wait until November to petition the league for salary cap relief involving Mirza Teletovic, writes Matt Velasquez of The Journal Sentinel. Milwaukee can seek to have the $10.5MM Teletovic will make next season removed from its cap because of a medically induced retirement. However, the team must wait a year from the last game he played, which was November 7. Teletovic had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee later that month, which is when doctors discovered blood clots in his lungs.
  • Bulls guard Cameron Payne is trying to erase the negative perception that many Chicago fans have after his poor play last season, relays K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Payne was a disappointment in 11 games after being acquired from the Thunder, then was sidelined until February 22 of this season following foot surgery. “I think I’ve played well,” Payne said. “Obviously I had a couple bad shooting days. But I feel the second unit has been playing pretty good. But we’re not winning so it really doesn’t matter.”

Bucks Waiving Mirza Teletovic

The Bucks will make room on their roster for Brandon Jennings by waiving forward Mirza Teletovic, the team announced on its website.

Teletovic, 32, was limited to 10 games this season by a medical condition diagnosed as pulmonary emboli in both lungs. He had a similar health scare three years ago when he developed multiple blood clots in his lungs.

Teletovic issued a statement last week denying that his career was over, but it’s uncertain if he could get medical clearance to ever play again. He had been participating in supervised workouts at the Bucks’ facility in hopes of returning to the court.

“The health of our players is our primary concern,” GM Jon Horst said in announcing the move. “The Bucks and Mirza Teletovic, in consultation with team doctors and other physicians, have been working together since December to evaluate and manage Mirza’s situation. As a result of the overall evaluation that we’ve gone through, at this time we are both moving on. We appreciate all of Mirza’s contributions to the Bucks organization and our community. We wish him a lifetime of good health with his family.”

Teletovic was in his second year in Milwaukee after signing as a free agent in the summer of 2016. He has one more season left on his contract at $10.5MM, but the Bucks may petition the league to remove that money from their cap, similar to what the Heat did with Chris Bosh.

Teletovic was a valuable reserve during his first season with the team, averaging 6.4 points in 70 games. He also played for the Nets and Suns in a six-year NBA career.

A report surfaced earlier today that the Bucks plan to sign Jennings to a 10-day deal, but a roster spot had to be opened before that could happen.

Mirza Teletovic Denies That His Career Is Over

For most of the season, the Bucks have been without power forward Mirza Teletovic, who was diagnosed with pulmonary emboli in both of his lungs. Teletovic wasn’t given a recovery timetable when he was shut down in December, and there’s still no timeline on his potential return to the court, but the 32-year-old is adamant that his career isn’t coming to an end yet.

During a radio appearance on 105.7 The Fan (Twitter link), Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times cited sources who told him that Teletovic’s career is over. Responding to that report, Teletovic tweeted, “It’s not over ’till I say it’s over… recovery is going great.” He later followed up that tweet with an Instagram video in which he reiterated that his recovery is “going great” and said he’s not retiring.

As Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes, the idea that pulmonary emboli could end an NBA player’s career is not far-fetched. Chris Bosh was ruled medically ineligible to return after a similar health issue, and Teletovic would require medical clearance of his own before he’s able to return to the court.

While Teletovic’s future remains uncertain, he has been spending time at the Bucks’ training facility during his on-court absence, participating in supervised workouts. Interim head coach Joe Prunty said on Wednesday that he has kept up with Teletovic’s progress, per Velazquez.

A stretch four who enjoyed some solid seasons in Brooklyn and Phoenix, Teletovic struggled a little during his first full season in Milwaukee in 2016/17, averaging 6.4 PPG on a career-worst .373 FG%. However, he got off to a hot start this season, shooting 46.7% on three-pointers in his first 10 games, before being sidelined with a knee injury.

After this season, Teletovic has one more year on his contract at a rate of $10.5MM. If his health issues are ultimately deemed to be career-ending, the Bucks could eventually explore removing that money from their cap during the 2018/19 season, as the Heat did with Bosh’s cap hits.

Kyler’s Latest: Jordan, Kings, Mirotic, Whiteside

The streaky Clippers, who lost nine straight games back in November, have now won a season-high six consecutive contests, re-inserting themselves in the playoff picture in the Western Conference. Even though DeAndre Jordan has been sidelined with an ankle injury for the Clips’ last three wins, the streak seems to bode well for his chances of sticking in Los Angeles through the trade deadline.

As Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes, Clippers ownership and management doesn’t seem at all eager to blow up the roster. For now, the club is focused on seeing if it’s capable of competing in the West, preferring to wait until a bit closer to the deadline to evaluate all of its options.

If the Clippers do change course by February 8, the Bucks and Rockets figure to be among the teams with interest in Jordan, whose contract situation is worth monitoring. According to Kyler, there’s a belief that the veteran center won’t be able to top his $24.12MM player option as a free agent, meaning it’s possible he could decide to opt in for 2018/19. That possibility may affect how the Clippers and potential trade partners view Jordan at the deadline.

Here’s more from Kyler:

  • The Kings‘ veteran players are all potential trade candidates at the deadline, though some are more likely to be moved than others. George Hill, for example, won’t have much value, given his contract situation, his injury history, and his underwhelming play this season. Sources close to the situation tell Kyler that Sacramento seems to be trying to help its veterans find better situations as those players fall out of the team’s regular rotation.
  • Kyler hears that Nikola Mirotic‘s camp is pushing for the Bulls to pick up the forward’s $12.5MM team option for 2018/19. Until that team option is exercised, Mirotic has the ability to block a trade, giving him some leverage if Chicago wants to complete a deal. League sources tell Kyler that the Bulls have “gotten pretty far down the road” in talks with the Jazz and Pistons about Mirotic.
  • There’s “growing talk” around the NBA that the Heat would be open to the idea of moving Hassan Whiteside for the right mix of contracts and young players, Kyler writes. The Bucks and Cavaliers, both on the lookout for a center, would be obvious suitors, but it would tough for either team to make a deal, given Whiteside’s large cap hit ($23.78MM). John Henson, Mirza Teletovic, Tristan Thompson, and Iman Shumpert are among the players whose contracts might have to be included for Milwaukee or Cleveland to make a deal work, which doesn’t sound overly appealing for Miami.
  • The Mavericks are “dangling” some expiring contracts and appear to be seeking a promising prospect on a rookie scale deal, along with future picks, says Kyler. Dallas also has cap flexibility to take on a contract or two.

Central Rumors: Buycks, Teletovic, LaVine

Dwight Buycks hopes he can prove that he’s worthy of a standard contract now that Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson is out at least 6-8 weeks with a severe ankle sprain, as he told Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Detroit signed Buycks to a two-way contract but he spurned a two-year deal because he hoped to eventually earn a spot on a 15-man roster, Langlois continues. Buycks, along with combo guard Langston Galloway, are the two in-house options to back up Ish Smith until Jackson returns. “This is my dream, to be here and be here permanently,” Buycks said. “It’s up to me to put the work in and be successful out here.” Buycks had previous stints with the Raptors and Lakers but hadn’t appeared in a league game since the 2014/15 season until he played two minutes against the Pacers on Tuesday.

In other news around the Central Division:

  • Forward Mirza Teletovic could be sidelined until late in the season, which would put the Bucks in the market for a shooter, Gery Woelfel of Woelfel’s Press Box reports. Teletovic was diagnosed with pulmonary emboli in his lungs earlier this month. Teletovic will be sidelined for at least three more months, sources told Woelfel. Without him, Milwaukee is vulnerable on the perimeter offensively.  “They just don’t have outside shooters,” a veteran advance scout told Woelfel. “I see that as their biggest weakness.’’
  • Shooting guard Zach LaVine has run out of patience waiting for the Bulls to let him return to action, he told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times and other media members. LaVine, who tore his ACL in February playing for the Timberwolves, has been practicing with the team and its G League affiliate for over a month but has yet to make his season debut. ‘‘I know I feel like I can play right now,’’ he said.

Mirza Teletovic Diagnosed With Pulmonary Emboli In Lungs

Mirza Teletovic continues to be hampered by health problems, with the Bucks announcing today in a press release that the veteran power forward has been diagnosed with pulmonary emboli in both lungs. Team physicians discovered Teletovic’s condition after he experienced “unusual fatigue” this week.

Back in January of 2015, Teletovic had a similar health scare when he was diagnosed with multiple blood clots in his lungs. That issue sidelined him for the remainder of the 2014/15 regular season, but in this case, the Bucks haven’t ruled out him out for the year.

According to the team, Teletovic will begin a rehab program following a 10-day rest period. No specific timetable was provided for his return, but hopefully he’s able to get back on the court at some point this season, or is at least good to go for the start of 2018/19.

Teletovic, 32, has already missed the Bucks’ last 16 games as he recovers from an arthroscopic procedure on his knee. So far this season, he has been limited to 10 games, averaging 7.1 PPG with a .467 3PT% in 15.9 minutes per contest.

With Teletovic out and Greg Monroe no longer on the roster, Milwaukee figures to keep its eye out for a possible frontcourt addition as the February 9 trade deadline nears.

O’Connor’s Latest: Bucks, D. Jordan, M. Gasol

In his latest piece for The Ringer, Kevin O’Connor takes a deep dive into the new-look Bucks, with a specific focus on their defense. As O’Connor outlines, Milwaukee has been one of the NBA’s best defensive teams in the 11 games since they acquired Eric Bledsoe, after ranking 29th to open the season.

Still, the Bucks’ recent schedule has been somewhat soft, and the club’s defensive rating takes a major hit when Bledsoe isn’t on the court. Adding another defensive stopper may help stabilize the lineup on that side of the ball and ensure that the club’s defensive improvements stick, O’Connor writes. Here’s more from the Ringer scribe on the Bucks and some of their possible targets:

  • The Bucks are on the lookout for a big man, multiple NBA executives tell O’Connor. The team is also trying to create some cap flexibility by moving some of their pricier multiyear contracts, such as the ones signed by Mirza Teletovic, John Henson, and Matthew Dellavedova.
  • One notable trade candidate who has been linked to the Bucks is DeAndre Jordan, and league executives expect the Clippers to listen to inquiries on the veteran center, per O’Connor.
  • One complicating factor on Jordan is the fact that he doesn’t currently have an agent, but multiple execs and agents who spoke to O’Connor believe the Clippers center will end up signing with Rich Paul and Klutch Sports. If that happens before the trade deadline, Paul could get involved on any Jordan trade talks and influence where he lands. It’s worth noting that both the Bucks (Bledsoe) and Cavaliers (LeBron James, Tristan Thompson, and J.R. Smith), who have been cited as potential suitors for Jordan, have Klutch clients. (Update: Jordan has reportedly hired Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports Management for representation.)
  • Marc Gasol is another player who would make sense as a trade target for the Bucks, but three execs who talked to O’Connor don’t expect the Grizzlies to deal him. One of those execs suggested that even if Gasol were to request a trade, Memphis may wait until the offseason to make a move.

Mirza Teletovic Expected To Miss Four Weeks

Veteran forward Mirza Teletovic has undergone successful arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, the Bucks announced today in a press release. The procedure, which repaired cartilage in Teletovic’s troublesome knee, is expected to sideline him for the next four weeks.

Teletovic has been out due to knee soreness for two weeks already, having last appeared in a game for the Bucks on November 7 in Cleveland. If the 32-year-old is able to get back on the court four weeks from today, he’d be in line for another game with the Cavaliers on December 19. However, there’s no guarantee he’ll be ready to go at that time.

Even before his injury, Teletovic wasn’t playing a major rotation role this season in Milwaukee. In 10 games, he had averaged just 15.9 minutes per contest, the lowest mark since his rookie season in 2012/13. Still, while his averages of 7.1 PPG and 2.3 RPG are modest, Teletovic has been reliable from beyond the arc, with most of his field goal attempts coming from three-point range. He has converted 2.1 threes per game at a 46.7% clip.

With Teletovic injured and Greg Monroe no longer in Milwaukee, the Bucks have relied on smaller lineups and leaned on Thon Maker and John Henson for increased frontcourt roles. Barring a roster move, those trends figure to continue as Teletovic recovers from his knee procedure, though Henson will miss Milwaukee’s next game after undergoing an eye procedure, according to the team.