I think Teo can do about anything he wants on the basketball court. He might be the best passer in the world. —Quin Snyder
SALT LAKE CITY — Because of his European connection, Quin Snyder was ahead of the curve in terms of his belief in Joe Ingles’ ability to make it in the NBA.
If things work out for the Utah Jazz along these lines, Snyder might experience a similar situation with Serbian guard Milos Teodosic.
Teodosic, who’s been linked to the Jazz as a possible offseason acquisition, is now considered by some to be the best player in Europe. Snyder has thought highly of the 6-foot-5 playmaker since he was an assistant coach with CSKA Moscow in 2011-12.
“I think Teo can do about anything he wants on the basketball court. He might be the best passer in the world,” Snyder told a European reporter in 2014. “He knows I think that about him, too, because we used to talk about that all the time.”
The timing could be perfect for a reunion between Snyder and Teodosic. The Jazz want a veteran point guard — perhaps two if they re-sign George Hill — and the Serbian player’s contract with the Russian powerhouse is expiring and he’s reportedly interested in giving the NBA a shot.
On Sunday, a Serbian publication, Politika, reported that Teodosic is seriously pondering the move from Europe to the U.S. and that the Jazz are the leading candidate for his services.
Although he’s considered a defensive liability, Teodosic is a creative passer and a capable outside shooter.
"Offensively, he's the best passer in the world, from a purely offensive standpoint," ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla said a month ago. "Chris Paul is a Hall of Famer, but as far as a pure passer, Teodosic might be the most creative passer in the world today. Now, he will not guard a chair, but he's a brilliant offensive player and an ultra-competitor."
The Jazz wouldn’t be able to sign Teodosic — or any other free agent — until early July. Utah does have about $16 million it can absorb into its 2016-17 salary if it makes a trade before the July 1 free agency period begins, something general manager Dennis Lindsey said the organization is seriously considering doing.
Teodosic will be looking for a three-year contract in the $25 million to $30 million range, according to EuroBasket.com writer David Pick.
ESPN reported that Utah, Brooklyn and Sacramento have the most interest in Teodosic. The point guard averaged 14.2 points, including 36.7 percent shooting from 3-point range, along with 6.7 assists and 2.3 rebounds this season for CSKA Moscow.
"I cannot discuss candidates to replace a player that hasn’t left or might re-sign with CSKA," CSKA president Andrei Vatutin told Pick. "Milos is unique. He is as unique as Nando De Colo, Victor Khryapa and all of my players. But if an NBA team makes him an offer, it will be impossible to compete with."
The Jazz have one more connection to Teodosic other than Snyder. Assistant coach Igor Kokoskov also hails from Serbia.
SUMMER LEAGUE: The Jazz haven’t announced their roster for the upcoming summer leagues, but there are a handful of obvious participants, from second-year forward Joel Bolomboy to three recently acquired draft picks — Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell, North Carolina center Tony Bradley and Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss — to fourth-year point guard Dante Exum (Utah only).
The Jazz roster will also include George Washington forward Tyler Cavanaugh, Aussie forward Mitchell Creek, Campbell wing Eric Griffin and Wyoming guard Nathan Sobey, according to basketball researcher Mark Porcaro.
The Jazz will host their own summer league with the Celtics, Sixers and Spurs from July 3-6 and then travel to Las Vegas for the NBA summer league for a week or so beginning on July 8.