By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The San Antonio Spurs informed Olympiacos Piraeus that they aren’t planning to acquire stashed center Nikola Milutinov this summer. The NBA buyout clause in the Serbian big man’s contract with Olympiacos expired Saturday (20/7).
Milutinov, 24, will thus stay with Olympiacos in 2019-2020. It will be the last season in the three-year contract extension Milutinov signed with the Greek powerhouse in 2017.
Reigning EuroLeague champion CSKA Moscow was targeting Milutinov this summer and was in negotiations with Olympiacos to possibly acquire him but their offers were rejected. CSKA ultimately signed NBA veteran Kostas Koufos at center.
Over the last couple of seasons, Milutinov emerged as one of the elite centers outside the NBA. In 2018-2019, he averaged 11.7 points (on 67.98% True Shooting), 7.9 rebounds, and 1.5 assists for 20.0 PIR in 26:01 minutes over 28 games in EuroLeague with Olympiacos, under David Blatt. He led the team in scoring, rebounding and PIR.
The Spurs have owned Milutinov’s NBA rights since they selected him with the 26th overall pick in the 2015 Draft. San Antonio General Manager R.C. Buford scouted Milutinov at Olympiacos several times during the player’s stint with the team.