Nemanja Bjelica

Free Agency Roundup: Rose, Bjelica, Suns, Vanderbilt, Niang, Schroder

Derrick Rose had received interest from the Pelicans, Wizards, Bulls, and Heat before re-signing with the Knicks, write Jeff Zillgitt and Mark Medina of USA Today. The USA Today adds that Kyle Lowry signing with the Heat helped usher Rose back to the Knicks and coach Tom Thibodeau. Rose agreed to a three-year, $43MM deal on Monday.

In the same piece, Zillgitt and Medina write that five other teams considered signing Nemanja Bjelica with their mid-level exception, but Bjelica prioritized signing with the Warriors instead. Bjelica agreed to a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum earlier today.

We have more free agency rumors:

Warriors To Sign Nemanja Bjelica

Free agent forward Nemanja Bjelica has reached agreement on a one-year contract with the Warriors, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Heat acquired Bjelica from the Kings at the trade deadline in March, but he played in just 11 games for Miami, averaging 5.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per night. He had been relegated to a bench role in Sacramento after being a starter for the past two seasons.

The 33-year-old gives Golden State another veteran shooting option as they try to move back into title contention. He had the best year of his NBA career in 2019/20 with the Kings, putting up 11.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 2.8 APG on .481/.419/.821 shooting in 72 games (27.9 MPG).

The Warriors still have their taxpayer mid-level exception to make further moves, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, who reports that Bjelica’s deal will be worth the veteran’s minimum (Twitter link).

Southeast Notes: Beal, James Jones, Butler, Bjelica

Bradley Beal of the Wizards is getting a first-hand look at what a Hall-of-Fame coach looks like, and he’s loving it, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.

“(Gregg Popovich is) perfect, man,” Beal said. “He’s an awesome coach to be around and his energy, his intensity, it just trickles down to everybody. It’s contagious.”

The timing is interesting, Hughes notes, as the Wizards are currently in the midst of a coaching search. Whomever the Wizards hire will be the third head coach of Beal’s career, and now that Beal has experience playing under Popovich, it will be interesting to see what he makes of the new hire. It’s been reported that Beal will have input in the decision.

We have more notes from around the Southeast Division:

  • In his latest mailbag, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel discusses the question of whether the Heat missed an opportunity by not doing more to keep Suns GM James Jones – 2021’s Executive of the Year – in the Heat organization. It’s unlikely Jones would’ve gotten the same opportunity that he got in Phoenix as quickly in Miami, Winderman concludes.
  • Much has been made of Jimmy Butler‘s combative nature, Winderman writes, but Heat legend Chris Bosh says some of that is the nature of the NBA, and that competitive fire looks different when the team is winning versus when it’s losing. “There’ll always be reports of conflict when the season isn’t that good. The conflict is different. When they’re winning and arguing, it’s great, it’s a great thing,” Bosh said. “What I find is most important, is you have to talk about it. We’re all adults, right?”
  • Winderman also checks in with Heat free agent Nemanja Bjelica on the heels of Serbia’s elimination from the Tokyo Olympic qualifying tournament last weekend on their home floor. “Disaster, it is fair to say, failure,” Bjelica said. “We are always expected to always win. The only thing left is that we wanted to make these people happy. I can only apologize, if it means something. I will take responsibility as a player with the most experience here.”

Rosters Announced For Olympic Qualifying Tournaments

Four qualifying tournaments to determine the final four teams in the men’s basketball pool at the Tokyo Olympics are set to tip off on Tuesday. In advance of the Olympic qualifiers, the 24 teams involved have officially set their 12-man rosters, according to a press release from FIBA.

More than two dozen current NBA players are participating in the tournament, and 11 of the 24 teams competing for Olympic spots have at least one current NBA players on their respective rosters. Of those clubs, Team Canada has the biggest contingent of NBA players — eight of the 12 players on Nick Nurse‘s squad finished the season on an NBA roster. Turkey is next with four NBA players.

The four qualifying tournaments will take place in Serbia, Lithuania, Croatia, and Canada. Only the winner of each six-team group will advance to Tokyo. Those four winners will join Japan, Nigeria, Argentina, Iran, France, Spain, Australia, and the U.S. in the 12-team Olympic tournament.

The teams that move onto the Olympics may tweak their rosters for Tokyo, depending on the availability of certain players. For instance, if Greece were to win its qualifying tournament, perhaps Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo – who remains active in the playoffs for now – would make an effort to join the team in Tokyo next month.

Here are the NBA players on the OQT rosters:

Belgrade, Serbia

Kaunas, Lithuania

Split, Croatia

Victoria, Canada

There are also many former NBA players among the 24 rosters, including Mario Hezonja (Croatia), Milos Teodosic (Serbia), Jan Vesely (Czech Republic), Timofey Mozgov (Russia), and Anthony Bennett (Canada).

To view the full rosters, be sure to visit FIBA’s official site and click through to each team from there.

Heat Notes: Olympics, Dedmon, Robinson, Haslem

Nine Heat players spoke to reporters today as part of the team’s end-of-season media availability, and many of those players intend to represent their countries in international play this summer, as Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald details.

Nigeria, one of the eight countries to have already clinched its spot in the men’s basketball event at the Tokyo Olympics, has talked to Precious Achiuwa about playing this summer, but he has yet to make a final decision. Teammate Gabe Vincent will train with Nigeria and hopes to make the Olympic roster.

Nemanja Bjelica, meanwhile, plans to play for Serbia at the Tokyo Olympics, while Omer Yurtseven – who signed with the Heat at the end of the season – intends to be part of the Turkish team as the club looks to secure an Olympic berth in next month’s qualifying tournament.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Veteran center Dewayne Dedmon said that he’d like to return to the Heat next season, but added, “That’s up to the people upstairs.” While Miami’s front office would probably reciprocate Dedmon’s interest, given how he played down the stretch, he’ll only have Non-Bird rights, limiting the team’s ability to give him much of a raise beyond the veteran’s minimum, as Jackson notes.
  • Asked about his priorities in free agency, Duncan Robinson offered the following response: “First and foremost, a fit, a place I can really feel comfortable. Winning is a priority for me. And also a business and there’s an opportunity to take care of people that I love.” Robinson will be a restricted free agent, so the Heat will have the ability to match if he signs an offer sheet.
  • Udonis Haslem remains undecided on whether he’ll retire or return to the Heat for 2021/22, but he made it clear he doesn’t take his spot on the roster for granted, as Jackson writes. “I don’t have an offseason. I’m 40 years old. If I have an offseason, I might as well retire,” Haslem said. “Straight from the season to back in the gym. I’m calling Bam (Adebayo); his (butt) is coming with me. I’m calling Precious. He’s coming with me.” Haslem added that he doesn’t have interest in coaching, but suggested he wants to eventually own part of a franchise, according to Jackson.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Southeast Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Southeast Division:

Nemanja Bjelica, Heat, 32, PF (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $20.5MM deal in 2018

There was a lot of bellyaching in Sacramento this season when Bjelica’s minutes were basically handed to Marvin Bagley III, as the Kings evaluated whether to make the 2018 No. 2 overall pick part of their long-term plans. Bjelica didn’t play for a month until injuries forced the Kings’ hands in February. He got a fresh start with Miami when it acquired him at the trade deadline. It hasn’t worked out.

Bjelica has been a non-factor while playing spot minutes. His 3-point shooting has tanked without steady playing time and that’s his top asset. Bjelica might wind up back in Europe unless he’s willing to accept a second-unit role at a much lower salary than he’s made the last three seasons.

Daniel Gafford, Wizards, 22, PF/C (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $6.1MM deal in 2019

When NBA analysts look at which trade deadline acquisitions have made the biggest impact, no one would have guessed that Gafford would be at or near the top of the list. He’s limited offensively but on his best nights, he’s a ferocious rebounder and shot-blocker.

Gafford is averaging 10.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG and 2.0 BPG in 17.9 MPG for a team that has been decimated by frontcourt injuries. His $1.78MM salary for next season doesn’t fully guarantee until next January. The Wizards hold a $1.93MM option on the 2022/23 season. Rest assured, Washington will keep Gafford around.

John Collins, Hawks, 23, PF (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $11MM deal in 2017

Collins could be the most intriguing free agent on the market this summer. The Hawks can make him a restricted free agency by extending him a $7.7MM qualifying offer. That’s a safe assumption. From there, things will get very interesting. Collins’ name was bandied about in trade rumors this winter – he reportedly turned down a $90MM extension offer with the hope of getting the max, or something close to it, in restricted free agency. Does any other team value Collins as a max-type player? We’ll find out when the market opens.

James Ennis, Magic, 30, SF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $3.33MM deal in 2020

The Magic brought back Ennis on a one-year deal for a team with playoff aspirations. Ennis was a starter the first half of the season until the front office decided to hit the reset button. With Orlando in total rebuild mode, Ennis will be seeking a new team this summer.

With the Magic focusing on their youth, Ennis hasn’t played this month, supposedly due to a sore calf. He’s passed through seven teams during his seven seasons in the league. Ennis will likely be looking at a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal for a club seeking insurance at small forward.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kings Trade Nemanja Bjelica To Heat

8:06pm: The trade for Bjelica is now official, per a Heat press release.


11:46am: The Heat and Kings are finalizing a trade that will send forward Nemanja Bjelica to Miami, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Sacramento will receive Maurice Harkless and Chris Silva in the deal, Woj adds (via Twitter).

The Heat have been linked to the stretch four for several weeks. They could have fit Bjelica’s $7.15MM salary into a $7.5MM trade exception, which expired on Monday. Instead, Heat president Pat Riley opted to send out players in order to stay below the luxury tax line. Harkless has an expiring $3.623MM contract and Silva is making $1.52MM. There’s a $1.78MM team option attached to Silva’s contract for next season.

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (Twitter link), Miami stays $3.3MM below the tax line and also opens up a roster spot in the two-for-one transaction. Sacramento will have to waive or trade a player to accommodate the extra incoming player.

Bjelica’s role was greatly diminished this season as the new front office and coach Luke Walton made Marvin Bagley III the starter at power forward following an injury-plagued season until he fractured his hand this month.

The 32-year-old Serbian has only appeared in 26 games this season, averaging 7.2 PPG and 3.8 RPG. He had a career year last season, averaging 11.5 PPG and 6.4 RPG in 72 games, including 67 starts. He’s a career 38.7% shooter from 3-point range.

Bjelica’s 3-point threat will likely make him a rotation player for the Heat the remainder of this season. They can then decide whether to re-sign the unrestricted free agent or let him walk to create additional cap flexibility. They’ll have his Bird rights and can go over the cap to re-sign him.

Harkless and Silva only appeared in 11 games apiece this season. They’ll get a fresh start in Sacramento, unless the Kings opt to waive one or both of them.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Trade Rumors: Brogdon, Ball, K. Williams, Bjelica

A Tuesday report stated that the Pacers are listening to inquiries on Malcolm Brogdon, and Chris Mannix of SI.com wrote today that the Hawks have had discussions about the guard. However, Brogdon won’t be dealt this week, two sources tell J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (subscription required). Still, Indiana is worth keeping an eye on, as the club has underperformed to some extent this season.

Multiples sources tell Michael that Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren, who has strong relationships with Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis, can be “too much of a micro-manager,” while another source suggested that’s to be expected for a first-year head coach who is still learning the ropes.

There’s no indication that Bjorkgren’s job is in any jeopardy, but the coaching staff may receive an offseason shake-up, Michael reports. In the meantime, it’s unclear if the Pacers will make any deadline moves — their plan as of a few weeks ago was to stand pat and wait for Caris LeVert to round into form and T.J. Warren to get healthy, says Michael.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the NBA:

Pacific Rumors: Mann, Clippers, Kings, Paschall, Wiseman

The Clippers don’t have any future first-round picks to offer up in trades and their roster is somewhat lacking in young talent, but second-year wing Terance Mann has emerged as an intriguing potential trade chip for the club, writes Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. Mann has established new career highs in points in each of his last two games, scoring 16 on Saturday and 21 on Monday.

If the Clippers make a deal, their preference would be to use veterans and second-round picks, but it’s a safe bet that potential trade partners will want Mann. The Kings inquired on the 24-year-old before agreeing to trade for Mfiondu Kabengele, according to Deveney.

“I don’t think they’re looking to trade (Mann),” a source told Deveney. “But I think they know when they get into some of the talks on higher-end guys, teams are going to ask for Mann. Everyone wants a first-round pick, but this kid is better than a lot of first-round picks from his class.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Chris Mannix of SI.com makes the case for why the Clippers need to make a deadline deal to cement themselves as true title contenders.
  • The Clippers sent $2.7MM in cash to the Kings as part of Monday’s Kabengele trade, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
  • The Kings still haven’t found any trades to their liking involving Nemanja Bjelica or Marvin Bagley III, according to Jason Jones of The Athletic, who says the team passed on an earlier opportunity to move Bjelica.
  • Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said on Monday night that there’s a chance Eric Paschall and James Wiseman will be cleared for Tuesday’s game vs. Philadelphia, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). A report last Wednesday indicated Paschall and Wiseman would be in the NBA’s health and safety protocols for at least a week.
  • Although the Suns will have some options at the trade deadline, they don’t need to make any big moves, argues Greg Moore of The Arizona Republic.

Kings Rumors: Holmes, Barnes, Bagley, Bjelica

Although the Kings are open to listening to trade inquiries for anyone not named De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton, sources tell Zach Lowe of ESPN that it will take a significant return to pry away forward Harrison Barnes or big man Richaun Holmes.

Barnes has been a popular subject of trade speculation in recent weeks, having reportedly drawn interest from Boston and other teams, while a report earlier today said Toronto and Charlotte are among the teams eyeing Holmes. However, according to Lowe, the Kings are telling teams that they don’t consider themselves far off from being a playoff team, so they’re not eager to trade productive veterans in their prime for draft picks and prospects.

As Lowe points out, given Marvin Bagley III‘s struggles and health problems, the Kings may also view Holmes as their center of the future and will have the cap flexibility to re-sign him in free agency this offseason. If that’s the case, there’s no reason to try to get what they can for him on the trade market.

Here’s more on the Kings:

  • Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report also hears that the Kings are willing to discuss anyone besides Fox or Haliburton, but that the asking price for Barnes is high. Sources tell Fischer it may take multiple first-round picks to pique Sacramento’s interest. “Every playoff team would be interested in him, but that’s why I don’t think that deal’s gonna happen,” one assistant general manager said of Barnes.
  • There’s a belief in league circles that Bagley would welcome a change of scenery, according to Fischer. Bagley’s father pushed for a trade earlier this year, and the former No. 2 overall pick didn’t exactly denounce it. However, the big man is currently sidelined with a broken hand and Sacramento is asking for a first-round pick, reducing the likelihood of a deal, Fischer says.
  • Although it’s unclear whether any team will meet Sacramento’s asking price of a younger player and a second-round pick, Nemanja Bjelica remains the King most likely to be traded, per Fischer. “They want to move him, and Bjelica told them he wants to be moved,” an assistant GM said. League sources who spoke to Bleacher Report identified the Celtics as a top suitor for the stretch four.