Kings Sign Nemanja Bjelica
The Sacramento Kings today signed Nemanja Bjelica (NEH-mahn-yah BYELL-eet-sah) to a contract, according to General Manager Vlade Divac. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
A 6-10, 234-pound forward, Bjelica accrued averages of 6.1 points (.449 FG%, .371 3pt%, .752 FT%), 3.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 18.9 minutes per game in 192 contests (started 22) during the previous three NBA seasons in Minnesota. He enjoyed career-bests in nearly every statistical category in 2017-18, including points (6.8), field goal percentage (.461), 3-point percentage (.415 on 76-of-183), free throw percentage (.800), rebounds (4.1), steals (0.75) and minutes played (20.5). Bjlelica appeared in all five of the Timberwolves postseason games, contributing 4.6 points (.438 FG%, .571 3pt%, .714 FT%) and 3.0 rebounds in 9.4 minutes per contest.
The Serbian national made his professional debut in 2007-08 with the Austrian League’s Arkadia Lions, soon returning home to Crvena Zvezda, where he earned a spot in the starting lineup and reputation as a reliable perimeter shooter. Following the 2009-10 campaign, he was selected 35th overall by the Washington Wizards, who traded his draft rights to Minnesota.
Bjelica remained overseas for the following five seasons, spending three years at Saski Baskonia of the Spanish League (2010-13) and a pair of seasons for Turkish league club Fenerbahce Ulker (2013-15), teaming with current Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic in 2014-15 to help guide the club to its first EuroLeague Final Four in team history. For his contributions throughout the most successful season in Fenerbache annals, Bjelica was bestowed EuroLeague MVP, All-EuroLeague First Team and Serbian Player of the Year honors.