Nemanja Bjelica Signs Three-Year Deal With Kings

JULY 21, 1:57pm: The deal is official, per a media release from the Kings.

JULY 20, 9:08pm: The Kings have reached a three-year, $20.5MM agreement with free agent forward Nemanja Bjelica, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports tweets. The third year will not be guaranteed, Charania adds.

This completes Bjelica’s unusual odyssey in free agency. The former Timberwolves reserve originally agreed to a one-year, $4.45MM deal with the Sixers early in free agency, then backed out of that agreement on Tuesday. He stated publicly he would likely head back to Europe, explaining that he wanted to create “some kind of stability” for his family.

Kings general manager Vlade Divac and other teams then reached out to Bjelica, trying to convince him to remain in the NBA. Sacramento’s offer won him over.

“The organization’s belief in and commitment to me overwhelmed me and my family,” he told Charania. “I am ready to do everything I can to help the Kings and be a part of the Sacramento community.”

It helped the Kings’ cause that EuroLeague powerhouses like Fenerbahce and CSKA Moscow reportedly were not interested in him at this time.

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor noted in a conversation last week with Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 that Bjelica entered the offseason seeking a multiyear NBA contract. The stretch four has been a rotation player with Minnesota the past three seasons. He averaged 6.8 PPG and 4.1 RPG in 67 games last season, including 21 starts.

Where Bjelica fits in with the Kings is a mystery. Sacramento already has No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley III, Zach Randolph and Harry Giles at the power forward spot. His path to playing time may be at small forward.

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19 thoughts on “Nemanja Bjelica Signs Three-Year Deal With Kings

  1. hiflew

    They gotta be looking at moving Z-Bo. He could be a good fit on the Timberwolves or the Heat.

  2. afsooner02

    I can’t believe averaging 6.8 Points and 4 boards gets you 7 million a season.

    Such a joke

    • schnoah

      Well, Marcus Smart just got 13M+ per year on a 4yr deal averaging 10.2ppg 3.5 rebounds and 4.8 assist while playing 30min per game.

      Bjelica got 6.8points and 4 boards per game while only playing 20min a game and only getting 5.5 shots a game while being WAY down Minnesota shot usage list.

    • sportznut1000

      i feel like anyone who has said to move or cut koufos, knows very little about basketball. he makes hardly any money and is a great backup center. he is hardly the problem in sacramento. he plays his role very very well. every team would probably like to have a kosta koufos as their backup center.

      • CJ2K18

        C’mon man how can you say koufos is any good to sac now he is 29 going on 30 doesn’t shot threes and is slow smh

    • BDUBS5218

      Trade candidate, yes, but no reason to cut him. He has value to Sac and other teams.

  3. moazetongue

    Asking for a friend. If he already agreed to sign with another team doesn’t that team hold his rights?

  4. x%sure

    Who should play the 3 for SAC? I think Shumpert, but how about this guy as scouted on nbadraft.net:

    “Positional versatility … Displays unusually smooth and fluid movements for his 6’11”, 234-pound frame … Elite and agile athlete … Great lateral quickness… Has the ability to run the floor paired with the agility to euro-step in big spaces and decelerate… can take his opponents off the dribble using his quick foot speed … He’s shown flashes of being able to take his game beyond the 3-point line… great at switching in pick-and-roll situations … Can stay in front of guards and wings on the perimeter … Jumps passing lanes well … Can be a menace on defense when he’s locked in …

    Just because Bagley CAN play inside, doesn’t mean he has to be stationed there.

    • CrazyB

      I think you’ll see some shumpert, bogdanovich and maybe bagley and/or Giles at the 3 spot depending on who the opposing 3 spot is. Might be by committee.

    • JT19

      Bagley will probably get some minutes at the three, but the issue with him will be defense especially at a position where some of the most talented players spend the majority of their minutes (LeBron, KD, PG, Kawhi, Butler, etc). Sure he can stay in front of guards and wings but that doesn’t necessarily mean you want him defending those types of players for multiple consecutive possessions. Duke had to switch to a zone defense because their overall man-to-man defense was pretty bad. Specifically, Bagley showed struggles at times defending forwards.

      • kenneth cole

        They switched to a zone because nobody would rotate on PnR defense, mainly Duval. Their rotations were terrible overall. He would either chase or try and switch automatically and it led to cluster. Bagley has the potential to be a great defender if he gets his footwork right but he is NOT a capable 3 point shooter. The only way you’d play him at the 3 is if to go big for short spurts or close out a last possession and guard the paint.

  5. cesc

    Seems a bit of an over pay 7 MM/year but good for him, though can’t see the fit, too many PF’s but also his age.

    • josh39

      Well they aren’t paying him 7 m to not play so they obviously have plans for him. Naturally he’s a 4 obviously but he can also play the 3 although it’s jot ideal. He can also probably play the 5 in a small lineup in certain matchups. He was misused in Minnesota so I’m glad that he got the money he did and deserves. He’s a better player than most people realize

    • JT19

      He can stretch the floor so he’ll be able to find minutes either as a small ball 5 or maybe a jumbo lineup (with him at the 2 or 3). The contract isn’t that bad for a bench forward with range and he should be easy to move in a year or two as long as his shooting doesn’t fall off a cliff.

  6. yoyo137

    Good for him, but what was his agent even doing? If you’re not going to do your due diligence to get your client the best deal possible you are not doing your job. It took him taking a much worse deal for him to be unhappy and go overseas. At which point the Kings were like, well we’ll offer you 5 times as much! As an agent how do you not contact the teams with the most cap space? He deserves the commission based on the 1 year deal he signed with Philly, he shouldn’t touch any percentage of Bjelica’s 2nd and 3rd year Kings money.

  7. Hopefully, the Kings have a plan to use him in a role in which he can be the most effective. In the case of this player, it’s really not that hard. He’s a stretch 4. That’s all. Used in any other manner, it diminishes him as an asset (the one you just paid 20 mm for). He and Giles can join WCS (it’s time to find out about him) and Bagley to form a 4/5 group they can try to move forward with. Randolph and Koufas have served their purpose (or not) and should be phased out and/or eventually be traded. SL is there as well, but the hand writing is on the wall for him with this signing. A veteran 3 might be a good way of keeping a veteran presence in the starting lineup. But Bjelica isn’t that guy, and delusions can be very costly. They have cap space and some pieces.

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