Nikola Milutinov

Nikola Jokic Included On Serbia’s Preliminary Olympic Roster

The Serbian national team has officially unveiled its preliminary roster for the 2024 Olympics, and that group is headlined by a noteworthy name. Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is one of the 16 players on Serbia’s preliminary roster, which will be cut down to 12 players for this summer’s games in Paris.

Jokic was noncommittal when asked last month at the end of Denver’s season whether he intended to play for Serbia in the Olympics. Svetislav Pesic, the head coach of the national team, recently stated that the Nuggets star remained undecided. Jokic’s inclusion on the 16-man preliminary roster doesn’t guarantee he’ll be in Paris, but it’s a signal that he’s planning to participate.

Even without Jokic, the Serbians claimed a silver medal at the 2023 FIBA World Cup, falling to Germany in the final but qualifying for the Olympics based on that deep World Cup run. Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic and Heat forward Nikola Jovic were among the key players on that team.

Bogdanovic and Jovic are also on the preliminary Olympic roster, and are joined by three more NBA players in Jokic, Hornets guard Vasilije Micic, and Hornets forward Aleksej Pokusevski. Filip Petrusev and Marko Guduric previously played in the NBA, while Nikola Milutinov, Ognjen Jaramaz, and Vanja Marinkovic were selected in past drafts but have never signed NBA contracts.

Serbia will be in Group C along with the United States at the Olympics and can secure a spot in the quarterfinals with a top-two finish in round-robin play. South Sudan and the winner of an Olympic qualifying tournament in Puerto Rico (Lithuania is the top-rated club in that six-team tournament) will be the other competition in Group C. Assuming Jokic plays, he could end up facing fellow Nuggets star Jamal Murray – who will suit up for Canada – at some point in the single-elimination portion of the event.

World Cup Notes: F. Wagner, Schröder, Top Players, Banchi

Germany’s Franz Wagner was thrilled not only to win a gold medal at the World Cup, but to be able to accomplish the feat while playing alongside his brother, writes Cesare Milanti of EuroHoops. Franz and Moritz Wagner are also teammates on the Magic, but their undefeated run through the World Cup field is the highlight of their careers.

“It’s special,” Franz Wagner said after Sunday’s win over Serbia. “Special to have our parents here too. This is so surreal, it doesn’t make sense that we are both on this team and we can enjoy it.”

Wagner appears to be fully recovered from a sprained ankle he suffered in Germany’s opening game. Although he missed the rest of pool play, he was back for the knockout round, scoring 22 points and grabbing five rebounds in a semifinal win over Team USA, then posting 19 points and seven rebounds in the gold medal contest.

“There were so many moments this year in so many games that the other team made a run, this game, the game before against the States,” he added. “We never let it slip, we just kept playing and kept staying together. That made a huge difference in all these games.”

There’s more from the World Cup:

  • Tournament MVP Dennis Schröder hopes Germany’s success will lead to more exposure for basketball in his home country, per Aris Barkas of Eurohoops. The German team has become more successful in international competitions, but the games aren’t widely available to the public. “We first thought the tournament was going to be on the TV. Only the final was on the TV,” Schröder said. “Basketball is a great sport and I hope we can get our respect for what we are doing the last two years. I wish that every single game is on TV. Ten years ago when I started, we had Dirk Nowitzki but nobody knew who were the other guys on the team. Now we go to Japan and the Philippines and they know us. We hope to get this respect also in our country and get recognized.”
  • Schröder was a first-team selection by Brian Windhorst of ESPN on his list of the best players at the World Cup. Joining him on the first team are Team USA’s Anthony Edwards, Canada’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Slovenina’s Luka Doncic and Serbia’s Bogdan Bogdanovic. Making up Windhorst’s second team are the USA’s Mikal Bridges, Australia’s Josh Giddey, South Sudan’s Carlik Jones, Serbia’s Nikola Milutinov and the Dominican Republic’s Karl-Anthony Towns.
  • Luca Banchi was honored as the tournament’s best coach after leading Latvia to a fifth-place finish in its first-ever World Cup.

Nets Notes: Johnson, Bridges, Whitehead, Milutinov

Cameron Johnson will be one of the top names on the free agent market, and long-time teammate Mikal Bridges is urging him to stay with the Nets, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Johnson and Bridges have been together since Johnson was drafted in 2019 by Phoenix, where they were nicknamed “The Twins” because of their close friendship. They spent three and a half years as Suns teammates before both being shipped to Brooklyn in February as part of the Kevin Durant trade.

“I just know a lot of people probably want him on different teams,” Bridges said. “I just tell him, I’ll just be like ‘I know money and this and that, but just know where I want you. And you can’t leave your Twin!’ But he knows. He knows that I never want him to go. And I hope that he stays and they offer him a really good deal. Get my boy paid and go from there.”

Johnson will be a restricted free agent, so the Nets will be able to match any offer he receives, but they can’t talk to him about a new contract until the official start of free agency at 6 p.m. ET on Friday. General manager Sean Marks told Lewis on draft night that he’s hoping to reach an agreement with Johnson before he meets with any other teams.

“I think it’s one of those things that maybe … we should expect the unexpected,” Marks said. “Things happen all the time in this. We’ll be prepared for that. Cam knows how we feel about him. We hope he’s a Net and so we’ll just have to sort of play it all out. … I think we’ve got a nice young group and he can see how this group has a chance to do something special here and do something special in Brooklyn.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • The Nets weren’t afraid to gamble on Dariq Whitehead with their 22nd pick, even though he underwent a second surgery on his right foot last month, per Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Whitehead was considered one of the top prospects in the nation heading into his freshman season at Duke, and the 18-year-old is confident that he can eventually get past his physical issues. “I think I can definitely get back to that guy who I was,” Whitehead said. “I feel like people definitely from last year, they tend to think that I’m not athletic, and that was due to me pretty much playing on one leg. But I feel like I can definitely show the athletic part, and then really my playmaking.” 
  • The Nets selected a pair of teenagers in the first round in Whitehead and Noah Clowney, but Marks said that’s not an indication that the team is focused on rebuilding rather than winning right away, relays Ian Beglay of SNY.tv.
  • Nikola Milutinov, whose draft rights the Nets acquired in a 2021 trade, has signed a two-year contract with Olympiacos, according to Dario Skerletic of Sportando. The 28-year-old center spent the past three seasons with CSKA Moscow.

Atlantic Notes: Nurse, Embiid, Quickley, Milutinov

Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com takes a look at what the Sixers are getting in new head coach Nick Nurse, who gained a reputation as a creative defensive strategist in Toronto. As Neubeck observes, the presence of Joel Embiid will give Nurse the sort of rim-protecting center he never really had with the Raptors, which should help alleviate the pressure on Philadelphia’s perimeter players.

Nurse also represents the Sixers’ first head coaching hire since Daryl Morey assumed control of the front office, and it’s perhaps no coincidence that Morey has a history with Nurse, having hired him as the head coach of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston’s G League affiliate) in 2011. While Morey and former head coach Doc Rivers weren’t necessarily a bad fit, there may be more shared views between Morey and Nurse, Neubeck writes.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Elsewhere on the Nurse front, Rich Hofmann of The Athletic wonders if Nurse will benefit from his familiarity with the Sixers, having faced them more than any other opponent while in Toronto. Meanwhile, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports (via Twitter) that Nurse met with Embiid during the interview process, and says that meeting went well.
  • This offseason could present a clear picture of how the Knicks and the rest of the NBA value Immanuel Quickley, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic, who notes that the guard will be extension-eligible and could be discussed in trade talks again after being linked to the Donovan Mitchell rumors a year ago.
  • Serbian center Nikola Milutinov has officially parted with CSKA Moscow and become a free agent, according to BasketNews.com. A first-round pick in 2015, Milutinov never signed an NBA contract, but his rights are still held by the Nets, so his free agency could have NBA implications. There has been no real indication that Brooklyn intends to bring him stateside though, so the 28-year-old may simply join another team in Europe.

Five-Team Russell Westbrook, Spencer Dinwiddie Trade Now Official

The five-team trade involving the Lakers, Wizards, Nets, Spurs, and Pacers, headlined by Russell Westbrook (to Los Angeles) and Spencer Dinwiddie (to Washington) is now official, according to press releases from multiple clubs.

The deal began as a two-team trade sending Westbrook from the Wizards to the Lakers, an agreement that was completed around the start of the draft last Thursday. Later that night, the Wizards and Pacers agreed to a deal sending Aaron Holiday that would be folded into the Westbrook blockbuster.

Subsequently, during free agency, the Wizards and Dinwiddie wanted to find a way to get the point guard to D.C. and ultimately convinced the Nets to accommodate a sign-and-trade. The Spurs entered the mix late to accommodate Washington’s salary-dump of Chandler Hutchison.

Here’s the full breakdown of the deal, based on reports to date:

  • To Lakers:
    • Russell Westbrook (from Wizards)
    • The Bulls’ 2023 second-round pick (from Wizards)
    • Either the Wizards’ or Grizzlies’ 2024 second-round pick (whichever is least favorable; from Wizards)
    • The Wizards’ 2028 second-round pick (from Wizards)
  • To Wizards:
  • To Nets:
    • Either the Wizards’ or the Grizzlies’ 2024 second-round pick (whichever is most favorable; from Wizards)
    • The right to swap the Warriors’ 2025 second-round pick for the Wizards’ 2025 second-round pick (from Wizards)
    • The draft rights to Nikola Milutinov (from Spurs)
  • To Spurs:
    • Chandler Hutchison (from Wizards)
    • Either the Bulls’, the Lakers’, or the Pistons 2022 second-round pick (whichever is most favorable; from Wizards)
  • To Pacers:

The Nets also generated the most significant trade exception of any team in the deal — it’ll be worth about $11.5MM.

While it was a fairly minor move for Brooklyn, San Antonio, and Indiana, the deal will significantly reshape the Lakers’ and Wizards’ rosters for the 2021/22 season. Los Angeles consolidated its depth, acquiring a star player who wanted to team up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, then filled out its roster in free agency.

The Wizards, meanwhile, traded one star for several depth pieces and managed to replace their old point guard with one who will earn less than half of Westbrook’s salary for the next couple seasons. The deal should increase the club’s cap flexibility while fortifying its bench.

Wizards To Acquire Spencer Dinwiddie Via Sign-And-Trade

11:56pm: The Spurs are sending the draft rights to 2015 first-round pick Nikola Milutinov to the Nets in the five-team trade, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link). That will satisfy the “touching” requirements we outlined below and allow the deal to be officially completed once the moratorium ends on Friday.

Katz adds (via Twitter) that the Wizards have also agreed to trade one more second-round pick (Chicago’s 2023 selection) to the Lakers. Washington is giving up five second-round selections in the deal (three to the Lakers, one to the Spurs, and one to the Nets), as well as a second-round swap (to the Nets).

Finally, Katz reports that the third year of Dinwiddie’s contract will be partially guaranteed (Twitter link).


5:04pm: The Wizards and Spencer Dinwiddie are in agreement on a three-year, $62MM deal that will land the veteran point guard in Washington, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The club will acquire Dinwiddie from the Nets via sign-and-trade.

That $62MM figure had been expected for Dinwiddie’s deal with the Wizards, since it’s the most the team could pay him by looping his sign-and-trade into the larger Russell Westbrook deal with the Lakers, notes Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link).

According to Charania (Twitter link), the Nets will receive a second-round pick and a draft-pick swap from the Wizards in the sign-and-trade agreement. The move will also create an $11.5MM trade exception for Brooklyn.

Additionally, the Wizards will trade Chandler Hutchison and a second-round pick to the Spurs as part of the multi-team deal, Charania reports (via Twitter). Moving Hutchison’s $4MM+ salary will allow Washington to remain out of tax territory for now, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link) provides the details on the draft assets, reporting that the Wizards are sending a 2022 second-rounder to San Antonio and a 2024 second-rounder to Brooklyn, as well as a 2025 second-round pick swap to the Nets.

The 2022 second-round pick headed to San Antonio will be the most favorable of the Lakers’, Bulls’, and Pistons’ second-rounders, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic.

That 2025 swap will give Brooklyn a chance to send Golden State’s second-rounder to Washington in exchange for the Wizards’ 2025 second-rounder, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. The 2024 second-rounder will be the more favorable of the Wizards’ and Grizzlies’ selections, Bontemps adds.

In total, Wojnarowski tweets, the deal will include five teams: the Wizards, Nets, Spurs, Lakers, and Pacers. The Westbrook trade agreement and the Wizards’ deal for Aaron Holiday will become part of this larger deal once it’s officially completed after the moratorium lifts on Friday.

Here’s what the full trade should look like, based on the details reported to date:

  • Wizards to acquire Dinwiddie (via sign-and-trade), Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, Holiday, and the draft rights to Isaiah Todd (No. 31 pick).
  • Lakers to acquire Westbrook, either the Wizards’ or the Grizzlies’ 2024 second-round pick (whichever is less favorable; from Wizards), and the Wizards’ 2028 second-round pick.
  • Nets to acquire either the Wizards’ or the Grizzlies’ 2024 second-round pick (whichever is more favorable; from Wizards) and the right to swap their the Warriors’ 2025 second-round pick for the Wizards’ 2025 second-round pick.
  • Spurs to acquire Hutchison and either the Bulls’, Lakers,’, or Pistons 2022 second-round pick (whichever is most favorable; from Wizards).
  • Pacers to acquire the draft rights to Isaiah Jackson (No. 22 pick).

As Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report points out (via Twitter), there will likely be at least one more piece involved between the Nets and Spurs in order to satisfy the rule that every team in a multi-team trade must “touch” two other teams in the deal. As reported so far, Brooklyn and San Antonio are each only receiving assets from (or sending an asset to) the Wizards. That last piece would likely be something minor, such as cash or the draft rights to a stashed player.

In Dinwiddie, the Wizards are getting a 28-year-old point guard who is coming off a lost season. He appeared in just three games before missing the rest of the 2020/21 campaign due to a partially torn ACL. However, Dinwiddie was reportedly cleared for all basketball activities in June and the expectation is that he’ll be good to go for the fall.

In his last full season, Dinwiddie averaged 20.6 PPG and 6.8 APG on .415/.308/.778 shooting in 64 games (31.2 MPG) for Brooklyn in 2019/20.

Word broke on Monday night that the Wizards and Dinwiddie were nearing an agreement, but the club didn’t have the cap space necessary to acquire him without getting the Nets’ cooperation in a sign-and-trade. Because Brooklyn didn’t want to take on any salary but wanted an asset or two for agreeing to play ball, it took all involved parties a couple days to work out the details of the deal that would get the point guard to D.C.

And-Ones: Milutinov, Macon, G League, Dunk Contest

Serbian center and former Spurs first-round pick Nikola Milutinov has suffered a major shoulder injury playing for CSKA Moscow and will undergo surgery, Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando relays. Milutinov, who suffered the injury last week against Bayern Munich, signed a three-year contract with the EuroLeague powerhouse last June. Milutinov was selected by the Spurs with the 26th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft. However, he has yet to sign an NBA contract. He played five seasons with Olympiacos in Greece.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • The G League will have 14 additional players on the Orlando campus as fill-ins in case of injuries, callups or other issues, Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets. Rawle Alkins, Isaiah Briscoe and Malik Pope are among the players on the list.
  • Former NBA guard Daryl Macon has parted ways with Galatasaray Istanbul, the team tweets. He’s joining AEK Athens, Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas tweets. Macon began the 2019/20 season on a two-way deal with Miami and was waived last January. He also played for Dallas.
  • Reports surfaced last week that the All-Star Game, which originally was scheduled to be held in Indianapolis this season, could be held after all in Atlanta. Now, the NBA and the players’ union are discussing the addition of both a dunk and three-point contest there on the weekend of March 6-7, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.

Former Spurs First-Rounder Milutinov Signs With CSKA Moscow

Serbian center Nikola Milutinov has officially signed a three-year contract with EuroLeague powerhouse CSKA Moscow, the Russian team announced today (Twitter link). The agreement between the two sides was first reported back in April.

Milutinov, 25, was selected by the Spurs with the 26th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft. However, he has yet to sign an NBA contract, spending the last five seasons with Olympiacos in Greece. He was named the Greek League’s Most Improved Player in 2017 and earned All-Star nods in 2018 and 2019. In 24 EuroLeague games this season, Milutinov averaged 10.3 PPG and 8.2 RPG.

International contracts for draft-and-stash prospects often include NBA outs, but that’s not believed to be the case on Milutinov’s new deal with CSKA Moscow, Keith Smith of NBC Sports reported in April. At the very least, the commitment ensures the big man won’t be joining the Spurs for the 2020/21 season. The odds of him eventually coming stateside probably decline a little with each year he remains in Europe.

Milutinov is part of a small group of former first-round picks who haven’t signed NBA contracts but whose rights continue to be held by NBA teams. Magic 2019 first-rounder Chuma Okeke is the only one considered likely to sign with his club this offseason.

International Notes: Messina, Italy, Euro Salaries

Olimpia Milano president and head coach Ettore Messina doesn’t think that the EuroLeague will resume, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. Messina, a former Spurs assistant, made his comments to RaiSport.

“A resumption of the EuroLeague season looks very difficult to me,” Messina said. “Maybe in a more normal situation, in two-three months. But it is something you can’t plan now. Thinking about 18 European teams flying from one country to another or players coming back from USA seems very unlikely.”

We have more from the basketball world:

  • There’s a good chance that the Italian Basketball League will play without fans in the stands for at least the remainder of the calendar year if and when it resumes, Carchia writes in another story. According to Mediaset, the Italian government may not allow any spectators at sporting events until at least January. That could be a financial disaster for Italy’s basketball clubs, many of whom rely on ticket sales, Carchia adds.
  • CSKA Moscow president Andrey Vatutin said EuroLeague clubs need to come up with salary compromises with its players, according to a Sportando post. Nikola Milutinov, a Spurs draft-and-stash prospect, has reportedly agreed to a three-year deal with the Moscow club. “Everything in the economy is crashing down, restrictions are being extended, and CSKA confidently throws millions from the bedside table. Because of quarantine and self-isolation, I don’t remember the last time I picked up a pen in order to sign something,” Vatutin said. “For CSKA, as for all Euroleague clubs, it’s now more important to find a compromise on salaries with current players.”
  • The Pelicans reportedly have their eyes on a guard who plays for Maccabi Tel Aviv. Get the details here.

International Notes: Kalaitzakis, Broekhoff, Milutoniv, NBL

Euro guard Georgios Kalaitzakis has submitted paperwork to make himself eligible for the draft, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reports. Kalaitzakis is ranked as the No. 96 prospect in the ESPN Top 100. The native of Greece averaged 12.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG and 2.3 APG in 29 MPG for Nevezis in Lithuania this season. The 6’7” Kalaitzakis led the U20 European Championship in scoring last summer at 19.7 PPG.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Former Mavericks swingman Ryan Broekhoff has reportedly received an offer from Greece’s Olympiacos, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. Israeli reporter Roi Cohen broke the news on Broekhoff, who was waived by Dallas in February. The 6’6″, 29-year-old Broekhoff appeared in 59 games during his two seasons with the Mavericks, including one start this season.
  • Spurs draft-and-stash prospect Nikola Milutinov is signing a three-year deal with CSKA Moscow, Carchia reports in another tweet. Barcelona also made a multi-year offer for the center, Carchia adds. The 7-footer, the 26th pick in the 2015 draft, averaged 10.3 PPG and 8.2 RPG in 24 games for Olympiacos this season.
  • NBL players in Australia have been asked by the league to take a 50% pay cut next season, Carchia reports. The league and team owners have also threatened to pull the players’ health insurance and career-ending injury insurance.