In the NBA, certain players bring more to the table than just the numbers next to their name in the box score. Bogdan Bogdanovic was one of those players to the Kings, serving as much more than Sacramento's starting shooting guard or the most versatile player on the roster.
Bogdanovic was the glue that helped make the Kings a family behind the scenes.
Sacramento’s new general manager Monte McNair decided that the four-year, $72 million offer sheet Bogdanovic signed with the Atlanta Hawks would hamstring his future plans, so he allowed the veteran to leave without receiving any compensation.
Bogdanovic admitted Wednesday that leaving the Kings was stressful, but he was happy with with how things worked out.
“A lot of good problems, I would say in the end,” Bogdanovic said in his introductory media session with the Hawks. “I’m really happy that everything is over and now I’m moving on.”
According to Bogdanovic, the Kings’ lack of movement in free agency played a role in his decision to sign with the Hawks.
“Since [Sacramento] didn’t do any moves in the offseason, I was like, 'OK, I’m ready to leave,' ” Bogdanovic said. “And I was really excited about Atlanta.”
Most NBA players are focused on winning, but Bogdanovic is obsessed. He won the EuroLeague and multiple Turkish titles with Fenerbahçe, as well as four silver medals in international competition with Serbia. Bogdanovic wanted that for his teammates with a winning culture in Sacramento.
It never quite worked out for the Kings, and he shifted his attention to joining a team on the rise this offseason.
For three seasons, Bogdanovic called Sacramento his second home. His sister moved to the city with him and is going through a master's program at Sacramento State. He also made friendships that will last much longer than any NBA contract.
“I still think that’s a great group of guys and the coaches, we really had fun over there,” Bogdanovic said. “Pretty talented group. They know what I think about them and I know what they think about me. That’s what is most important. We built good relationships. We’re really good friends.”
Like Bogdanovic said, the feeling is mutual for many of the teammates he is leaving behind.
“Bogi was my guy,” Harrison Barnes said. “It’s tough in this business when you develop relationships with guys, competing with guys and then being teammates with them. You definitely become very close.”
The Kings couldn't snap their 14-year playoff drought during Bogdanovic's three seasons in Sacramento, but his stint represented perhaps the team's best run during the last decade or so.
“What me and the team as a whole is going to miss about him is just what he brought every single day in terms of continuity and competitiveness,” Barnes said.
“In the locker room, everyone loved him and obviously, we wish him the best,” Barnes added.
Bogdanovic’s presence will be missed both on the court and off. Sacramento brought in rookie Tyrese Haliburton to help soften the blow and Bogdanovic’s absence should open more opportunities for Buddy Hield.
That doesn’t change the fact the Kings lost a valuable member of the squad and a major piece to their culture.