Nikola Milutinov won’t join the San Antonio Spurs during the 2015-16 NBA season, but he’s teaming up with another player the franchise recently added.
Last week, Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops reported Milutinov agreed to a three-year deal with “multiple NBA outs” and will play for Greek squad Olympiacos—which already has Georgios Printezis on the roster.
San Antonio’s pursuit of LaMarcus Aldridge meant Tiago Splitter had to be traded. The center wound up with the Atlanta Hawks, who sent the Spurs the rights to Printezis. The 30-year-old has spent the last four seasons with Olympiacos.
Having two international players with rights held by the same NBA team must be a rare occurrence. Nevertheless, Milutinov and Printezis—signed through 2017—will likely share the Olympiacos frontcourt for a couple seasons.
Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News called the 20-year-old Milutinov “far from an NBA-ready product.” Monroe continued:
"Milutinov is a skinny 7-footer who will remain overseas to develop his skills and work on both his upper and lower body strength."
He averaged 9.8 points and 7.6 rebounds for Partizan Belgrade (Serbian League) last season but will face elevated competition as a member of Olympiacos (Euroleague).
Milutinov can further develop his skills while playing alongside Printezis, who tallied 11.6 points and 4.0 boards for Olympiacos in 2014-15. Printezis might never reach the NBA, but he offers 13 years of professional experience overseas that should benefit Milutinov’s development.
The Spurs are certainly hoping Milutinov pays off in the future, since Tim Duncan, David West, Boris Diaw and Matt Bonner are nearing the end of their respective careers.
For now, though, Milutinov will learn a thing or two from Printezis—a Spurs teammate in a different colored uniform.