Nemanja Bjelica Will Not Be Playing for the Sixers
I believe this was first reported at RealGM, then confirmed by Keith Pompey and Woj:
Nemanja Bjelica Could Back Out Of Agreement With 76ers For Deal In Europe https://t.co/xH1ZUcxfG4
— RealGM (@RealGM) July 17, 2018
Nemanja Bjelica has decided to stay in Europe this season instead of playing for the #Sixers, according to a source.
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) July 17, 2018
Free agent forward Nemanja Bjelica — who had agreed to a one-year deal with the 76ers — informed the team on Monday that he will stay in Europe this season, league sources tell ESPN. He never signed his contract with Philadelphia.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 17, 2018
Interesting. He could have been looking for a better deal and simply changed his mind.
There’s a short write-up by Nikos Varlas at EuroHoops.net that gets into this a little bit:
It’s obvious that Bjelica’s priority is the NBA, however, he expected a better and especially a longer deal than the mid-level exception of the Sixers for one year.
That’s why the 2015 EuroLeague MVP remains puzzled and Europe can be an option for him. Of course, very few teams can afford him, but on the other hand, the chance of signing Bjelica could be intriguing for every EuroLeague powerhouse.
And this is a blurb from the RealGM story:
Nemanja Bjelica has yet to finalize his contract with the Philadelphia 76ers and he could end up moving back to Europe this season.
Bjelica and the 76ers agreed to a one-year, $4.4 million deal on July 5th. Bjelica was expecting a better multi-year contract when he entered free agency.
That’s not exactly what’s coming out of the Sixers’ camp, though. Sounds like Bjelica had a verbal agreement with the team but ran into visa issues getting to Camden to take his physical. Bjelica, a Serbia native, has been playing in the NBA since 2015.
The crumbling of this deal does allow the Sixers to go in a different direction with the mid-level exception, but it hurts from a depth perspective. Bjelica was a good fit for this team, that Euro stretch-four that Brett Brown seems to love. Bjelica was a pretty good shooter who would have been a natural replacement for Ersan Ilyasova.
Next up on the power forward depth chart behind Dario Saric would be, well, I guess Richaun Holmes or Jonah Bolden, unless the Sixers want to bump Wilson Chandler down and use him as a four, where he did play a bit in Denver, mostly when Danilo Gallinari was on the roster. Robert Covington and Ben Simmons played the four at times last year to varying degrees of success. Brown does have options here.
The Sixers could use the MLE on a free agent reclamation product or just save it for the buyout market instead. And I know his name evokes exasperation among Sixers Twitter, but this would also open the door for 38 year old Jamal Crawford to sign on a veteran minimum deal. Personally, with the roster already being tight, I think you just stand pat and navigate the buyout market.
Anybody on this list jump out, or nah? –
Top Remaining Free Agents:
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) July 16, 2018