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Saturday Night Surprise: Bucks Waive Mirza Teletovic, Reportedly Promoting Brandon Jennings

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Mirza has missed most of the 2017-18 season, while Jennings’ return is an unexpected storyline.

NBA: Preseason-Milwaukee Bucks at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks are consistent, as always, in never letting fans know what to expect. In Saturday night’s edition of #NeverTrustTheBucks, the team has requested waivers on forward Mirza Teletovic and will sign guard Brandon Jennings to a 10-day contract.

Teletovic, in his six year NBA career, is one of the most prolific stretch 4s in the game, but has been sidelined for months with pulmonary emboli in his lungs, a life threatening condition similar to the one that ended Chris Bosh ‘s career. Telly refuted the rumors that his career was ending early, but does not appear to be continuing with the Bucks.

Details on Mirza’s departure are sparse as of this writing, and salary cap watchers will be eagerly awaiting the information once it becomes available. When a player is placed on waivers, any team in the NBA can submit a claim, which would then transfer the player’s existing contract to that team. However, once a player clears waivers, they’re an unrestricted free agent...despite still being under contract with their former team. In this case, the remainder of Mirza’s 2017-18 salary ($10.5M) and his entire 2018-19 salary ($10.5M) would stay on the Bucks’ books.

It is still possible, even likely, that the Bucks will attempt to remove Mirza’s contract from their active salary cap (while still paying him every cent, as it’s a guaranteed contract), which will be a tenuous situation for all involved since it would essentially require Telly to give up on his NBA career. Maybe his health situation requires it, maybe it doesn’t, but it’s not the last we’ll hear of this story.

Speaking of not hearing the last of someone, Brandon Jennings will reportedly take Teletovic’s spot on the active roster. Jennings made waves with his return to Wisconsin (as a member of the Herd), even interviewing with Jim Paschke after his deal with the G-League was announced. He’s been active on the court as well; in 5 games, Jennings has averaged 20.4 points (on 18.0 attempts), made 32.4% of his threes, 8.0 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.0 steals. It’s unlikely that Jennings’ return to the Bucks was a part of some master plan, but it’s equally unlikely that the possibility was so remote that it was never considered.

Jennings’ main strength (shooting off the dribble) is something the Bucks could use from their guard rotation, but his main weakness (shooting off the dribble A LOT) will hurt their already waning offensive efficiency. With his reported contract temporary by nature (a 10-day can be followed up by another 10-day, which then would have to be extended to the rest of the season), it seems that the Bucks might be kicking the tires on a guard who might give them a lite-version of what Michael Beasley offered last season. What nobody should expect is precisely what most fans will come back to, which is this:

Both Telly and Brandon will likely have updates to their respective stories, and we’ll be here for when those updates come. Stay tuned!