Timberwolves Sign Nemanja Bjelica

JULY 14TH, 11:32am: The deal is official, the team announced (on Twitter).

1:40pm: Bjelica’s deal is worth $11.7MM over three years, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Bjelica confirmed that he’s heading to Minnesota in a statement released to Wojnarowski through Tellem. Minnesota will foot the maximum $625K toward his buyout from Turkey’s Fenerbahce Ulker, Wojnarowski adds. The total amount of that buyout was reportedly 1.2 million euros, the equivalent of more than $1.325MM, so Bjelica will have to pay the rest himself.

JULY 6TH, 1:12pm: The Timberwolves have reached a deal with draft-and-stash prospect Nemanja Bjelica, reports Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press (Twitter link). Krawczynski reported in late June that the sides were close to agreement, and Wolves coach/executive Flip Saunders more or less promised to get a deal done shortly thereafter. The sides had reportedly spoken about a $12MM deal over three years, but it’s unclear just how much the reigning Euroleague MVP is getting to come stateside.

The Arn Tellem client had reportedly been seeking between $5MM and $7MM a year, numbers that likely would have forced Minnesota to use its entire $5.434MM mid-level exception, though both sides have apparently held mutual interest for some time now. Minnesota acquired the rights to Bjelica in a trade on draft night in 2010, when the Wizards selected him 35th overall. Other teams reportedly had interest in trading for his rights this spring, but the Wolves clung to them.

Bjelica left Fenerbahce a few days ago after a season in which he averaged 11.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 26.1 minutes per game. He’s 27 years old, so he would appear to be an already fully developed prospect, save for whatever seasoning he’ll pick up in the NBA this year.

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