clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Rumor: Milos Teodosic sets his price

New, comments

The Serbian point guard may have leaked his pricetag - and it’s very reasonable

Basketball - Olympics: Day 12 Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images

David Pick had an interview with CSKA Moskow president, Andrei Vatutin, in which he disclosed what he believed to be the NBA asking price for the services of that team’s free agent point guard, Milos Teodosic: $8-10 million per season. For the 30-year-old Serbian regarded as the best point guard in Europe, that puts him within reach of most teams who aren’t trying to fit him into the MLE, which should allow for a bit of a bidding war if multiple teams are interested. And he does seem to have that interest.

Several NBA GMs and scouts are eye-balling the Serbian wizard floor general. With ex-CSKA assistant Quin Snyder leading Utah into the second round of the playoffs with loads of international flavor, sources tell me the Jazz are bound to shoot Teodosic an offer-sheet. The Brooklyn Nets are also in active pursuit. People close to Teodosic estimate that he'll push for a deal in 3-years $25-30 million range.

Another fascinating tidbit, this one showing Denver’s Eurobasket ties:

"I don't discuss such kind of scouting with them. I definitely know Milos better than any GM in the world, but my knowledge is used for CSKA alone," [Vatutin] said, adding, “I'm proud to have elite NBA GMs from Brooklyn, San Antonio, Denver, Oklahoma, Houston and others as friends.”

Teodosic’s contract was paying him about $2.7 million a year, easily in the top-10 of Eurobasket players. Now, that’s somewhat misleading, since European teams report their salaries as net (after taxes) while the NBA lists them as gross. Even so, Teodosic is asking for a sum that would make him the highest-paid basketball player in Europe by a significant margin, and will not be matched by CSKA Moskow - which is why their president looks like this:

That $10 million annual price tag might be expensive for Europe but it’s a bargain for a starting point guard in the NBA. Here are some salaries for various levels of NBA point guards:

Those prices will only keep going up with the higher salary cap. Kyle Lowry is on the market for a $30+ million annual max price tag. Jeff Teague could be looking for a $90 million total payday. Jrue Holiday might be a nice piece if he can be had for $18 million a year... but Teodosic is coming in at half that. Of course, all those guys have made their bones in the NBA. Can Teodosic come over and succeed, or will he look more like Rudy Fernandez, who is also a top-5 salaried player in Europe but was strictly a bench player stateside?

It helps that Teodosic is a better player than Fernandez. He’s an offensive wizard, a passing genius with a terrific basketball IQ who (unlike some other good passers like Ricky Rubio) can actually shoot. Those no-look hook passes Jokic likes? Teodosic adores those things. He prefers to pass, but if the shot is there he’ll take it and he can score off the catch or off the bounce. He has a quick release and his gather time is very short, letting him get off threes behind screens or with a defender just a step off. He’s a tall point guard at between 6’4 and 6’5, so that helps his ability to deal with longer defenders and finish in traffic even if he’s not exactly explosive.

The FIBA 3-point line is directly in between the college and NBA 3, so his 3-point percentage of 40% over the last 3 combined seasons would probably come down slightly, but he’s also a career 86% free throw shooter and he finishes at the rim. His career eFG% is .558. Rubio’s is .415, and Chris Paul’s is .515. Offensively, his game does resemble CP3’s: he wants to run the show, but can and will score whenever it’s most beneficial.

Defensively, his game resembles a narcoleptic - there are times he absolutely quits on a play, deciding it’s not worth the energy output to even attempt defense. Even when he’s engaged on that end of the floor I wouldn’t say he sells out on stops. He’s a crafty offensive player, not an athletic one, but when that lack of athleticism meets a lack of desire on defense it causes problems.

In that sense, he’s more like Andre Miller. Teodosic has more range than Miller ever did, though, and offensively is a great fit for where the NBA is at now. And if Denver’s plan for the next few years is to outscore the opposition, Teodosic is well-suited to that endeavor for a large discount off of the other starting point guard options available to Denver.

If they should choose to join the chase, the Nuggets will not be alone in their pursuit of Teodosic. As the article stated, one of his old assistant coaches and a man he still seems to greatly respect is Quin Snyder of the Utah Jazz. The salary news dropped from a Brooklyn Nets site, as that team also has its eyes keenly focused on the Serbian point guard. The Nuggets aren’t assured of landing him even if they do want him, but he’s a year younger than Kyle Lowry and his asking price is 13 of what Kyle Lowry will be asking.

A 3-year deal fits Denver’s timeline for re-signing its 2016 draftees, and a $10 million annual price tag would still allow Denver to add other players to the mix (or to re-sign Danilo Gallinari if they wanted to go that route). The fact that he is Nikola Jokic’s countryman and fellow member of the Serbian National Team that won a silver medal at the Olympics could help both men with their comfort level, and make Teodosic’s transition to NBA life easier. Jokic was mis-used in the Olympics for most of the games, but that appeared to be a coaching decision and not a problem between Teodosic and Jokic. Teodosic just wants to win on every offensive possession, and will do whatever it takes to make that happen.

The Nuggets will have to decide how much they want to invest in the point guard position this offseason, or whether returning Jameer Nelson, Emmanual Mudiay and Jamal Murray to the fold is their best plan. It’s very hard to advance in the playoffs without multiple capable ball-handlers and offensive orchestrators, but getting a point guard willing to run the ball through Jokic can be complicated. If you ever thought, “I’d love a real point guard to help this team but I don’t want to pay full price for a player who only helps on offense,” then boy do I have a highlight package for you. Enjoy!