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.