Nemanja Bjelica Reportedly Signs 76ers Contract After Timberwolves Withdraw QOJuly 5, 2018
Free-agent forward Nemanja Bjelica reportedly reached an agreement Thursday with the Philadelphia 76ers on a one-year contract.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said the Minnesota Timberwolves withdrew their qualifying offer to the Serbian veteran, so they won't have an opportunity to match the deal.
The 30-year-old was a 2010 second-round pick but didn't move to the NBA until 2015, spending each of the past three years with the Timberwolves. The Serb immediately became a key part of the rotation when he came to the United States and has slowly raised his production each season.
Bjelica finished last season averaging 6.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game in 67 appearances, including 21 starts. He also knocked down 41.5 percent of his shots from three-point range, helping Minnesota reach the playoffs for the first time in 14 years.
However, he barely saw the court in the postseason as the team was eliminated in five games. He averaged 9.4 minutes per game while scoring just 23 total points.
The forward remained upbeat discussing free agency following the team's final playoff loss, but there weren't any certainties.
"I hope I will stay here," he said in April, per Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. "We will see."
The Wolves do have plenty of depth up front, with Gorgui Dieng and Taj Gibson lining up next to Karl-Anthony Towns. They are well prepared to move into contention in 2018-19 if they can remain healthy.
Meanwhile, Bjelica is set to join a Sixers frontcourt led by Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. He'll battle Richaun Holmes and Amir Johnson for playing time off the bench.