Within a few hours, the Kings may have swooped up two players who had just backed out of deals with other NBA teams and re-entered free agency.
Days after Nemanja Bjelica reportedly reneged on a verbal agreement with the Philadelphia 76ers, saying that he wants to stay in Europe, the 6-foot-10 Serbian forward instead agreed to a deal with the Kings, team spokesman Chris Clark confirmed Friday evening.
A league source confirmed Wednesday that the Kings reached out to the free agent after his one-year deal with Philadelphia fell through. Bjelica has reportedly agreed to a three-year, $20.5 million deal with Sacramento.
Bjelica can play power forward, but would likely see more time at small forward with the Kings, where the team has a greater need.
“I spent a lot of time talking with Vlade and as an icon in our country, he has a unique perspective on what it takes to put yourself in a successful NBA situation and what it takes as a player to perform in that situation,” Bjelica told Yahoo Sports. “I am ready to do everything I can to help the Kings and be a part of the Sacramento community.”
A second-round draft pick in 2010, the 30-year-old forward was the EuroLeague MVP in 2015. He and Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic were teammates on the Serbian national team and with Fenerbahce Istanbul in Turkey.
Bjelica played last season in the NBA with Minnesota, averaging 6.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
Earlier Friday, a league source confirmed that guard Yogi Ferrell agreed to a two-year, $6.2 million contract with the Kings.
Ferrell backed out of a deal (two years, $5.3 million) with the Dallas Mavericks early Friday, a day after it had been reached, multiple outlets, including ESPN and Yahoo Sports, reported Friday.
“We felt uncomfortable and will weigh our options,” Ferrell’s agent, Cervando Tejeda, told Yahoo Sports before the Kings deal.
Ferrell’s signing is expected to give the Kings further depth at point guard. He will immediately become the team’s most experienced player at the position, and he could challenge Frank Mason III for playing time behind projected starter De’Aaron Fox.
Ferrell spent the last two seasons with Dallas, averaging 10.2 points and 2.9 assists.