The Sixers haven’t succeeded in their star hunt — yet — but they reportedly added another solid addition on Thursday.
The team will sign big man Nemanja Bjelica, formerly of Minnesota, to a one-year deal using the mid-level exception, per SI's Jake Fischer. A restricted free agent going into the offseason, the Timberwolves renounced the Serbian’s rights, making him unrestricted.
Bjelica, 30, brings an intriguing skill set to the Sixers’ bench. He has great size (6-foot-10, 240 pounds), and can stretch the floor (41 percent from three). He’s a solid backup option for Dario Saric and will also be able to play some small ball five. He’s also a cheaper and slightly younger replacement for Ersan Ilyasova.
Bjelica’s numbers won’t blow you away. He averaged 6.8 points and 4.1 rebounds in a little over 20 minutes a game last season. Defensively he’s obviously solid or else he wouldn’t have gotten off Tom Thibodeau’s bench.
His percentage from three and the free throw line were both career highs and that’s the skill that should intrigue the Sixers the most. He has great range and isn’t afraid to chuck it. He’s a decent passer as well, making him an ideal candidate to play in Brett Brown’s pace-and-space offense.
Bjelica has spent three seasons in the NBA but started his professional career overseas in 2007. He was originally drafted by the Wizards in the second round in 2010 before a trade to the Timberwolves. He won the EuroLeague MVP in 2015, which prompted his arrival to Minnesota the following season.