The Bucks need better shooters. The Suns need to get value for players who might not help beyond this lost season.
So, a deal involving Phoenix stretch four Mirza Teletovic – who’s on an expiring contract and played for Jason Kidd’s Nets – could make sense.
Among the many things Phoenix is discussing today, sources say, is dealing Mirza Teletovic to Milwaukee. But the Bucks’ largest trade exception is agonizingly too small ($5.2 million) to absorb Teletovic’s $5.5 million salary, so any deal would have to involve players from both teams.
A potential solution: Milwaukee uses the trade exception to acquire a player and then flips that player for Teletovic.
Teams can accept up to a trade exception’s value plus $100,000 when using that exception. Non-taxpayers like the Bucks can accept up to 150% of a player’s salary plus $100,000 when trading him.
A few expendable players on expiring contracts have salaries that could facilitate such a deal:
For a couple reasons, Novak makes the most sense.
1. Oklahoma City, over the luxury-tax line, might even send out a positive asset in the deal to unload Novak. Memphis might just give away Anderson rather than pay him, though he could provide center depth with Marc Gasol sidelined. Portland is under the salary floor, so it has little incentive to move Kaman unless it precedes another salary-adding trade.
2. Novak is the lowest paid of the three, which would please the Suns.
But there are still other questionable aspects of this deal.
The Bucks have a full roster of 15 players. Who would they drop to add Teletovic (via another player first)?
And why do they want to trade for an expiring contract? Milwaukee is 22-32 – 5.5 games and five teams from playoff position. This team is more than a decent stretch four from entering the postseason race.
Plus, the Bucks wouldn’t have a meaningful inside track to re-sign Teletovic. He’d be a Non-Bird free agent, and Milwaukee could exceed the cap to re-sign him starting at $6.6 million (120% of his previous salary). In the meantime, he’d also count $6.6 million against the cap until signed or renounced. The Bucks project to have plenty of cap room, anyway, meaning they could just sign him no matter where he ends the season.
Teletovic’s shooting could help Milwaukee’s younger players develop the rest of the season with improved spacing, and it could help Kidd determine how players fit going forward. Playing for the Bucks for the rest of the season might even help convince Teletovic to sign with Milwaukee in the summer.
That all has value.
But enough to surrender an asset that convinces Phoenix to deal him and outbids other potential suitors?