Nemanja Bjelica Agrees to Contract with Kings After Backing out of 76ers Deal

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJuly 21, 2018

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 23: Nemanja Bjelica #8 of the Minnesota Timberwolves dribbles down the court in the first quarter against the New York Knicks during their game at Madison Square Garden on March 23, 2018 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Nemanja Bjelica is staying stateside after all.

According to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, Bjelica and the Sacramento Kings agreed to terms Friday on a three-year, $20.5 million deal after he reneged on his verbal commitment to the Philadelphia 76ers

Bjelica, 30, initially stated that he backed out of his agreement with the Sixers because he wanted to pursue opportunities in Europe. 

"It's not about coach or the Philly organization," Bjelica told The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski. "Brett Brown, he’s a great guy and a great coach. The most important thing for me is family and some kind of stability.

"I made a decision too quickly," he added. "It's not about Coach Brown and the Philly organization. It's just about me and my family."

Bjelica should provide some nice scoring pop off the bench for the Kings. 

Last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Bjelica averaged a career-high 6.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game on 46.1 percent shooting from the field, including 41.5 percent from three. According to NBA.com's player tracking data, he drilled a robust 41.8 percent of his catch-and-shoot triples and 42.9 percent of his pull-up opportunities from beyond the arc.

The Kings will hope for more of the same out of Bjelica, who projects as a floor-stretching 4 who can seamlessly slide in as a backup for Marvin Bagley III. 

The Serbian sharpshooter will also be capable of filling in at small forward if head coach Dave Joerger wants to roll out bigger lineups without compromising the team's floor balance.

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