Back in July of 2018, Nemanja Bjelica agreed to become a Sixer, backed out of the deal because he said he intended to play in Europe, then eventually signed a three-year contract with the Kings.
That deal is now in its final season, and the Sixers again reportedly have interest in the veteran power forward.
From The Athletic’s Sam Amick:
“Nemanja Bjelica who has been out of (Kings head coach Luke) Walton’s rotation since Jan. 9 and appears likely to be on the move. The Sixers, who have long been tied to (Buddy) Hield in terms of interest, are known to be among the teams who are considering the 32-year-old forward who has shot 39 percent from three-point range in his six seasons.”
Bjelica projects as a potential upgrade at the backup power forward spot, and perhaps a small-ball center option. Shooting has historically been his most notable strength, though he’s only made 23.8 percent of his three-point attempts this season. Bjelica has dealt with a back injury this year and, according to Walton, had a personal issue that factored into his absence from the team’s rotation.
Mike Scott, meanwhile, hasn’t played since Jan. 14 because of a right knee injury. He seemed to be nearing a return, going through full-speed workouts before games, but head coach Doc Rivers said on Feb. 2 said that he had a setback and “tweaked his knee again.”
It’s now a few years in the past, but Bjelica did very well in transition as part of the 2018-19 Kings, who finished third in the NBA in pace. According to Cleaning the Glass, 20.7 percent of Sacramento’s possessions were in transition when he was on the floor, and the team scored 130.8 points per 100 of those plays (in the 84th percentile for the league). His competency as a passer and comfort with a fast-paced style would make sense as appealing traits for the Sixers.
The team is 27th in three-point frequency and 19th in three-point percentage, per Cleaning the Glass, so it would be unsurprising if president of basketball operations Daryl Morey added shooting ahead of the March 25 trade deadline.