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Report: 76ers signing Nemanja Bjelica to room exception

Joel Embiid, Nemanja Bjelica

Minnesota Timberwolves’ Nemanja Bjelica, of Serbia, goes up for the shot against Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, of Cameroon, during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, March 24, 2018, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 120-108. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)


The Timberwolves pulled Nemanja Bjelica’s $4,937,499 qualifying offer (to sign Anthony Tolliver while remaining out of the luxury tax).

Bjelica will land on his feet – though with a slight reduction to a salary of $4,449,000.

Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated:

Bjelica becomes the 17th player who’ll get a standard contract from Philadelphia – two more than the regular-season limit. The 76ers could buy out Jerryd Bayless. Maybe they’ll make a larger trade (for Kawhi Leonard?) that clears another roster spot. More likely, someone like Justin Anderson or Furkan Korkmaz could get pinched.

Bjelica will replace Ersan Ilyasova (who’s leaving for the Bucks) as a stretch four. Dario Saric’s development reduces the importance of a specialist for that role, though.

Unlike Ilyasova, Bjelica can’t easily slide to center. Bjelica can play small forward, but he did that due more to Minnesota’s roster construction than a genuine proficiency for the position.

Bjelica, already 30, doesn’t have the upside associated with most players who have only three years of NBA experience. But he’s already a productive player, and he’ll fit just fine in Philadelphia.