Nets push Teletović to take mini mid-level so Howard, other doors open up

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The Nets like to make things hard on themselves. But they apparently have just cleared one more hurdle to making the very difficult trade to bring Dwight Howard to Brooklyn a little more possible.

They may have reached a deal to get Mirza Teletović to take a smaller offer than they verbally agreed to, which will keep the hard salary cap they nearly imposed on themselves away, according to ESPN’s Larry Coon and CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger. Removing that cap makes the finances of a Dwight Howard trade possible.

This gets complex, so stick with me.

Tuesday it was announced the Nets had agreed to terms with European stretch four Mirza Teletović for the $5 million mid-level exception for three years. Something they could offer.

However, because with salary and “cap holds” (slots reserved for their free agents to re-sign) the Nets were over the salary cap ($58 million) and below the luxury tax line ($70 million), so on July 11 when they signed Teletovic to that deal they would activate the “apron” or hard salary cap in the new CBA, which is at $74.3 million. This provision was put in the CBA at the insistence of smaller market owners who didn’t like to see the high-spending teams (Lakers, Celtics, Knicks etc..) keep adding players via the mid-level exception every season with impunity.

If the Nets had that hard cap there was really no way to pull off a Howard trade — Howard will make $19 million, Joe Johnson makes $19 million, Deron Williams $17 million, Gerald Wallace $10 million and throw in the rookies and you have a Nets roster at about $70 million and still needing to add at least seven players. Even at minimum deals you can’t really pulls that off in the NBA, not with any kind of quality.

However, the Nets are close to getting Teletović to take the mini mid-level of $3 million. If they do that, there is no hard cap triggered and the Nets can take on more salary back in a Dwight Howard trade. Or really make any other large move.

Now, that’s just the math of it. The Nets still need to convince the Magic that the package they have been rejecting for nearly a year — Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and some picks — is now good enough for them. And to make it work, they need at least a third team to take on Humphries and what likely is an oversized new deal.

So good luck with that. But at least the math could be there now.

Sterling Brown’s lawsuit: Police officer involved in tasing/arrest posted on Facebook about getting same chance with J.R. Smith after NBA Finals Game 1

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Bucks guard Sterling Brown said he’d sue the Milwaukee police department over his tasing and arrest last January. The now-filed lawsuit makes the involved police officers look even worse than videos of the incident already did.

Somehow, J.R. Smith and his gaffe in Game of the NBA Finals got involved.

Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post:

Lowery posted the full lawsuit here.

There is a systematic problem where police too frequently trample on the rights of people, disproportionately minorities. Celebrating that intrusion of governmental forces is disgusting and speaks to the mindset that fuels the problem.

A few suspensions won’t fix the problem. Brown’s lawsuit won’t fix the problem.

But, hopefully, it sheds light on the bigger issue and is a step toward a solution. Unfortunately, history suggests the city will settle and just views it as a cost of doing business.

Report: Mavericks targeting Luka Doncic in draft

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It appears increasingly likely the Suns will draft DeAndre Ayton No. 1 and the Kings will take Marvin Bagley No. 2.

So, Luka Doncic – once more of a consensus top-two prospectcould fall.

All the way to the Mavericks at No. 5? They apparently hope so.

Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN:

Dallas at five, they’re asking themselves, “Can we stay at five and get Luka Doncic, or do we have to move up to get the player?” Because that is the guy they have targeted for the Mavericks.

I doubt Doncic gets past the Grizzlies at No. 4, though I wouldn’t rule it out. The Hawks could even take him at No. 3.

Could Dallas trade up with Atlanta at No. 3 to get Doncic ahead of Memphis? What about swapping picks with the Grizzlies, maybe even taking Chandler Parsons‘ toxic contract (though that’d come with complications)?

This is a common situation. The Mavericks have the No. 5 pick. They want a player most people rate higher than fifth. Many teams want players rated higher than where they’re drafting.

The big question: What will Dallas do about it?

Rumor: Chris Paul telling people LeBron James wants to join Lakers

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Chris Paul is reportedly recruiting LeBron James very hard to the Rockets.

The response?

Stephen A. Smith of ESPN:

According to my sources, several things are happening. A, Chris Paul is telling folks Lebron ain’t trying to come to Houston. He wants to be in L.A. These are things I’m getting through the grapevine. Chris Paul is saying LeBron wants to be in L.A.

That’s quite believable. LeBron reportedly said he doesn’t like Houston as a city, and we know he likes Los Angeles. Lifestyle matters.

But it won’t be the only consideration. LeBron is still in “championship mode,” and the Rockets are closer than anyone to beating the Warriors. Perhaps, Paul can still convince his friend to join Houston.

But it sounds as if Paul recognizes he’s playing from behind – and so are all other non-Lakers suitors for LeBron.

Rumor: Clippers not planning to keep Milos Teodosic

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The Clippers have (an ideally healthier) Patrick Beverley at point guard. Lou Williams and Austin Rivers are comfortable as lead ball-handlers. With the No. 12 or 13 pick, L.A. could add another point guard – Trae Young, Collin Sexton or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Where does that leave Milos Teodosic, a 31-year-old who’s coming off a rookie season in which he missed 37 games while dealing with a foot injury?

O. Cauchi of Sportando:

The Los Angeles Clippers, in fact, are not planning to keep the Serbian point guard for the next season, a league source told Sportando.

his health is one of the main concerns behind Clippers’ decision, a source told Sportando. The team would love to add a younger player in that position and fear that Teodosic’s foot issue won’t be fixed easily, sources told Sportando.

Teodosic holds a $6.3 million player option for next season, but just $2.1 million is guaranteed until July 15. He ought to opt in and collect his $2.1 million before moving on. And if he opts in, maybe the Clippers strike out in free agency, don’t need the additional cap flexibility and keep him.

If they go through with waiving him, Teodosic could land with another NBA team or return to Europe. His foot issues could determine whether another NBA team wants him.

Teodosic is a wonderfully creative passer and good shooter. He’s also a woeful defender, and foot problems would only set him back further.