When word gets out that a player is interested in playing for Cleveland, suddenly everyone wants him. And it is true Bosnian forward Mirza Teletovic has been linked to the Cavaliers.
Don’t feel bad if you don’t know much about Teletovic. He’s spent his entire career playing overseas, mostly in Spain. He also declared for the 2007 NBA Draft, but didn’t get selected.
Now Teletovic is a free agent, planning to explore his NBA options once again. Only this time there appears to be a mutual interest.
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Before we go any further, here are several facts on Teletovic:
— He’s 6-foot-9 and listed as a power forward, but his game is more perimeter-oriented than power, earning him a “stretch four” label from scouts.
— He’s 26-years-old and led the Euroleague in scoring this past season at 21.7 points per game. He also averaged 6.0 rebounds.
— His two biggest suitors appear to be the Cavs and Nets, who moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn.
Now both of those teams are on the lookout for available bodies to fill out their rosters and, with any luck, make a real contribution. If all goes well, they’ll have some pretty strong selling points.
The Cavs already possess the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year in point guard Kyrie Irving. They also own the Nos. 4 and 24 picks in the first round of this month’s draft.
Meanwhile, the Nets are hoping to re-sign star guard Deron Williams and made a move to the league’s largest market.
Both teams can promise a worthy candidate there will be no shortage of shots or money. That’s especially the case for the Cavs, who are aiming to fill the void in minutes and salary cap space veteran forward Antawn Jamison will leave behind.
Word is Teletovic likes both the Cavs and Nets for those reasons and more.
But there are aspects of Teletovic’s game, according to scouts, that deserve consideration. For one, he’s viewed as a so-so defender (at best). For another, he’s a lousy rebounder for his size. And when it comes to scoring, he does it mostly via pure volume as opposed to owning a sweet shooting stroke.
Cavs fans probably hear those descriptions and envision Jamison all over again — and a lot of folks in the know wonder if Teletovic is even that good.
That said, you can bet the Cavs and Nets are willing to find out.
Just as in most situations, this one is likely to come down to money. Teletovic is still seen as a risk, so you probably don’t want to throw too much his way. Especially at 26, an age in which most players have reached their ceiling.
In other words, Teletovic is hardly considered a can’t-miss player by NBA scouts. He’s more of an utter mystery.
But if the reports are true, NBA fans will get a first-hand look at him soon and be able to figure it out for themselves.
— By the way, it was Teletovic’s agent who said his client will sign with either the Cavs or Nets. Neither franchise has commented.
— Spanish forward Victor Claver, selected by the Trail Blazers with the No. 22 pick in 2009, is expected to join the team next season, according to multiple reports.
— While on the Euro trail, it’s been reported the Cavs have an interest in Bulls backup center Omer Asik. However, Asik is a restricted free agent and the Bulls are likely to match any offer he receives. “We see him as a key piece moving forward,” said Bulls GM Gar Forman.
— If the draft were held today, it sounds like the top three would go like this: Anthony Davis (Kentucky) to the Hornets; Thomas Robinson (Kansas) to the Bobcats; and Bradley Beal (Florida) to the Wizards. That would leave the Cavs to decide between Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky), Harrison Barnes (North Carolina) or Andre Drummond (Connecticut).
–That said, a lot can change between now and June 28. But it would be surprising if those weren’t the top-five players selected after Davis.’
— Deron Williams isn’t the only guard expected to test free agency this summer. Magic veteran Jameer Nelson and Blazers sixth-man Jamaal Crawford are also likely to opt of their contracts within the week.
— There’s no truth to the Tyreke Evans-to-the-Bulls rumors, according to multiple sources. In the proposed deal, the Kings would send Evans and the No. 6 pick to the Bulls for Joakim Noah. But team executives stressed that the rumor was generated by a website, not anything that’s actually being discussed.
— Sounds like the Bucks are leaning toward drafting North Carolina center Tyler Zeller if he’s still around at No. 12. They also are reportedly leaning toward keeping unrestricted free agent center Kwame Brown, a former No. 1 overall pick.
— NBA free agency begins July 1. No moves involving free agents can be made before that day. That includes sign-and-trades.