Early Wednesday, after months of speculation, the disgruntled superstar, that is Kawhi Leonard, was officially shipped out of San Antonio.
Naturally, the vast majority of the day’s NBA discussions centered around that blockbuster agreement.
Raptors and Spurs reached an agreement:
Kawhi Leonard ➡️Raptors
Danny Green ➡️ Raptors
DeMar DeRozan ➡️ Spurs
Jakob Poeltl ➡️ Spurs
2019 first round pick (protected) ➡️ Spurshttps://t.co/7DgojXXqBz
— Sportando (@Sportando) July 18, 2018
On the opposite end of the spectrum, lost in the shuffle of Gregg Popovich & Co. literally sending Leonard to another country, was this surprising development regarding a familiar ex-Timberwolf’s unanticipated return to the country:
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) July 18, 2018
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. Approximately 24 hours after initial reports surfaced that Bjelica would be returning to Europe, in lieu of a handshake agreement with the 76ers; current indications now strongly suggest there is a good chance he’ll spend the upcoming season back on an NBA roster.
As you can imagine, the Bjelly’s switcheroo didn’t bode well with the all-too-familiar Philadelphia sports fans.
Sixers front office… pic.twitter.com/F3M9dSYXpq
— Gary Langlais (@garylanglais) July 18, 2018
Bjelica did my Sixers dirty
— RMacs (@PhillyHotspur) July 18, 2018
But, before anyone jumps down the Serbian’s throat, let his recent interview with the Athletic’s Jon Krawcyznski shed further light on the situation. During their discussion, which was prior to these Sacramento developments, the 30 year-old said “family and some kind of stability” was why he passed on the opportunity to join the up-and-coming 76ers.
He also stated that his decision was “not about the Philly organization. Brett Brown, he’s a great guy and a great coach.”
Nemanja Bjelica was hoping for a longer-term deal to move his family to a new city. The market just wasn’t conducive to that. More he thought about it, the more he second-guessed his decision.
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) July 17, 2018
Fast forward to the now:
While news has released today, that the Celtics and Marcus Smart have agreed to a 4 year-$52 million deal, there is no signed and sealed agreement between the former Euro-star and the Kings (or the Sixers I guess) .
Confirmed with Bjelica that the Kings contacted him. There has been no offer, just convo w/Vlade and Peja telling him he’s too good to go back to Europe. Other teams have expressed the same.
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) July 18, 2018
When it’s all said and done, from what I’ve read on the situation, if Sacramento or any other organization is willing to give Bjelica his expressed desire for a longer-term contract, I’d fully expect him to continue his basketball career via the NBA. In regards to the Philly faithful’s wounds, they’ll heal up just fine. When it comes to losing out on the potential to secure a former European Timberwolf, this isn’t the fan base’s first rodeo.
Andrei Kirilenko was suspended by 76ers for not reporting after trade from Nets on Jan. 9, 2015. Was waived Feb. 21.
— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) January 9, 2017