Philadelphia 76ers: Nemanja Bjelica flip flops again, signs with the Kings

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

After forgoing a one-year deal to join the Philadelphia 76ers, Nemanja Bjelica has changed his mind yet again and has signed with the Sacremento Kings.

Just when we thought the Nemanja Bjelica-saga was over in the City of Brotherly Love, the third-year Serbian forward has added yet another wrinkle to his… shall we say interesting free agency period.

For those who are unfamiliar with the situation, Bjelica and the Philadelphia 76ers brass agreed to a one-year deal for the team’s mid-level exception (roughly $4.45 million) to the 30-year-old forward to take his talents east following a three-year tenure in with the Minneapolis Timberwolves, but before any contracts could be formally signed, Bjelica had a change of heart.

After coming to the conclusion that he didn’t want to uproot his family for a one-year deal, Bjelica informed the team that he planned to return to Europe for the 2018-2019 NBA season, to presumably sign a long-term deal closer to his home country of Serbia.

And that should have been the end of things.

Well, apparently, no one told that to Sacramento Kings‘ GM Vlade Divac.

According to Yahoo Sports NBA Insider Shams Charania, Divac personally reached out to Nemanja to persuade him to give the NBA another chance because he was simply too good to take his talents overseas, a sales pitch that apparently worked. Though the 2018-2019 Kings are far from contenders, the security of a three-year, $20.5 deal (with year three non-guaranteed) was enough to change Bjelica’s mind and keep him stateside for at least a few more seasons.

But really, who cares?

The Sixers, who suddenly found themselves in need of an experienced forward/center with three-point shooting abilities shipped two of their older prospects, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Justin Anderson to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Atlanta Hawks, respectively, in exchange for 27-year-old backup big Mike Muscala, who at least on paper appears to be a better fit for the team in both the short and long-term. Though he too apparently isn’t the biggest 76ers fan, as highlighted by some recent comments from back in February, his addition, when coupled with Jonah Bolden‘s brand-spankin’ new four-year, $7 million deal simply made Bjelica an unnecessary addition in both the short and long term.

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And the best part of this whole ordeal? With a pair of versatile forward/centers now locked in to join Dario Saric, Amir Johnson, and The Process himself, Joel Embiid in the Philadelphia 76ers frontcourt moving forward, Brett Brown still has the team’s mid-level exception to play with and add yet another player to the team’s roster going into the 2018-2019 season. Thanks for the memories Nemanja, have fun being a King.