8:23pm: The trade is official, the Clippers announced (via Twitter).
7:59 pm: The Clippers will send Petrusev and cash to the Kings in exchange for the draft rights to Luka Mitrovic, a source tells Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Mitrovic, a 30-year-old forward currently playing in Serbia, was the final pick in the 2015 draft.
Petrusev was dealt to Los Angeles along with James Harden and P.J. Tucker in the blockbuster trade that was officially completed on Wednesday. However, Law Murray of The Athletic reported at the time of the agreement that the Serbian rookie wasn’t in the Clippers’ plans and wasn’t expected to remain on the roster.
By trading Petrusev to Sacramento, the Clippers will open up a second roster spot on their 15-man squad. Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team can only carry fewer than 14 players on standard contracts for up to 14 days at a time and 28 total days during a season, so Los Angeles will have to replace Petrusev on its roster sooner rather than later.
Even after the Clippers add a 14th man, I’d expect them to keep their 15th roster spot open for the time being in order to maintain some flexibility and to avoid increasing their projected luxury tax bill.
The Kings, meanwhile, entered the season with an open roster spot of their own and will now use it to take a look at Petrusev, a draft-and-stash prospect who was selected 50th overall in 2021 and joined the 76ers two years later.
The 6’11” forward/center, who played college ball at Gonzaga, won a EuroLeague championship with Anadolu Efes in 2022, earned a Serbian League title with Crvena Zvezda in 2023, and was part of the Serbian national team that finished second at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Assuming the terms of his contract aren’t being adjusted as part of the trade, Petrusev’s salary is currently only partially guaranteed for $559,782 (50% of his full salary), so the Kings could waive him at some point with no real financial penalty if they want to reopen that 15th roster spot. His full cap hit is $1,119,563.
It’s unclear what the Kings are sending the Clippers in the trade, but based on the structure of the deal and how it’s been reported, I expect it to be either a heavily protected second-round pick or the draft rights to a player who will likely never sign an NBA contract.