Reports: Wolves and Euro-star Bjelica agree to 3-year contract


Reports indicate the Minnesota Timberwolves agreed on a three-year contract with European basketball standout Nemanja Bjelica.

Bjelica, who was the Euroleague MVP this past season, averaged 12 points and eight rebounds a game for his former team, Fenerbache of Turkey.

The Serbian also shot nearly 50 percent from the floor last season and has the ability to score both in the paint and at the three-point line.

He issued a statement through his agent Arn Tellem to Yahoo Sports.

"I am excited to announce that I intend to sign with the Minnesota Timberwolves and fulfill my dream of playing in the NBA. Thank you Flip Saunders and the rest of the organization for the confidence you have shown in me. I'm looking forward to joining the team and helping it become a contender."

According to Yahoo, the three-year contract is worth $11.7 million and the Timberwolves will also pay the maximum allowed by the NBA – $625,000 – toward the buyout of Bjelica's contract with his former team.

The Timberwolves originally obtained the draft rights to Bjelica in 2010; he was selected by the Washington Wizards with the 35th pick in that year's NBA Draft.

At 27, many believe he can come in and help the Timberwolves right away.

Canis Hoopus writes that coach Flip Saunders compares Bjelica to former NBA star Detlef Schrempf, who played for Indiana and Seattle back in the '90s.The site says Toni Kukoc and "not-bizarro Lamar Odom" are also good comparisons.


The Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda notes that without even playing for Minnesota, Bjelica is one of just two remnants of the years that David Kahn ran the franchise's basketball operations – the other is point guard Ricky Rubio.

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