Nemanja Bjelica Won’t Sign With Sixers

10:00am: Bjelica has elected to return to Europe for the 2018/19 season rather than signing with the Sixers, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Philadelphia will now have its $4.449MM available to use on another player.

9:47am: Having used up all their cap space, the Sixers are now in position to finalize their agreement with Nemanja Bjelica with their room exception. Philadelphia and Bjelica agreed to terms on a one-year, $4.449MM deal earlier this month.

However, according to Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops.net, the 76ers and Bjelica have yet to complete that deal, and there’s still a belief among EuroLeague teams that the veteran forward could be lured away from his verbal agreement with Philadelphia. Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic confirms as much, tweeting that “with a young family,” Bjelica is “looking at all of his options.”

As Varlas suggests, Bjelica had expected a more lucrative and longer-term contract than the one he agreed to with the Sixers. In a recent conversation with Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said that the Serbian forward had been seeking a multiyear deal from Minnesota before the team withdrew its qualifying offer. Taylor added that the one-year contract Bjelica agreed to with the Sixers was worth less than what the Wolves had offered.

European teams can’t match NBA clubs in terms of overall spending power, but Bjelica – a former EuroLeague MVP – would represent a major acquisition. As such, it’s possible a EuroLeague powerhouse would be willing to give him a longer-term contract that would be worth more total money than his Sixers deal.

It’s not clear how seriously Bjelica is weighing a return to Europe, or whether the Sixers gave him their blessing to consider other options. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the two sides eventually finalize their agreed-upon deal, but that no longer appears to be a lock.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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7 thoughts on “Nemanja Bjelica Won’t Sign With Sixers

    • BDUBS5218

      They are guard heavy but Crawford seems like a natural fit, scoring off the bench, veteran leadership.

  1. I think this might be a good move for both sides, he can go back home, play for a powerhouse team while been very important. For Philly I thought was a bit of an overpay… I would have rather they kept Ilyasova, I think is a lot better… well now will have to see what can they fish.

  2. I give no fox

    Well that sure does stink. I feel like he was a good inexpensive addition to replace Ersan Ilyasova. With Bolden stinking up the summer league, I am not so confident in him playing major minutes so a more reliable stretch 4 is needed

    • wingspan

      Yup. I was kind of excited to see him run a little pnr like he did in Europe.

      With Chandler in the fold, I think that Covington could play a little more 4 (where his trick-or-treat shooting is a little less aggravating). Still a bummer though.

  3. x%sure

    He would have gotten more in the US if he waited. His contract was considered a bargain (see the latest Pelton/espn).

    Maybe he wants a do-over next year. Or, he did not want play behind the Serbian Saric! That would not be a good look back home.
    Fire the US agent.

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