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Nemanja Bjelica rejects return to the Warriors and leaves the NBA

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Nemanja Bjelica (right) of the Warriors

The Golden State Warriors have watched several role players change teams over the past few days, including one who decided to leave the NBA entirely.

Nemanja Bjelica, originally from Serbia, has pledged to join Turkey’s champion team Fenerbache on Friday, according to Turkish reporter Ugur Ozan Sulak via Sportando.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic went on to report that Golden State had hoped to bring Bjelica back into the roster on a minimum veteran’s contract before the big man made his decision to leave.

“The Warriors were interested in bringing Nemanja Bjelica back to veteran minimum but they were informed [Friday] He has chosen to leave the NBA entirely for a privileged situation on one of his former teams. Slater tweeted on 1st of July. “Another rotation player lost.”

The Los Angeles Lakers were also interested in a deal with Bjelica, according to Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney, but were unable to lure him into staying in the United States.

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Bjelica offered Warriors stretch option, produced in Quality Minutes

GettyNemanja Bjelica (right) of the Golden State Warriors is congratulated by Draymond Green (left) after scoring against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half of a game at Staples Center on October 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

Bjelica has been instrumental in Golden State’s success throughout the year. He appeared in 71 regular season games and averaged 6.1 points and 4.1 rebounds over 16.1 minutes a night, according to the Basketball Reference.

The 34-year-old forward/center has spent the last seven seasons in the NBA, alternating between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings, with a brief stint as a member of the Miami Heat before ending up with the Dubs last year.

The report of Bjelica’s return to Fenerbache, where he played from 2013-2015 before making his NBA debut, did not include contract details. He played at the Golden State in 2021-22 on a one-year contract worth just under $2.1 million. Bjelica earned nearly $34 million on Spotrac over the course of his NBA career.


Warriors face a mass exodus of roleplayers after winning the title

Philadelphia 76ers Gary Payton II

GettyThe Golden State Warriors’ Otto Porter Jr. (right) and Gary Payton II (left) assist Stephen Curry (center) in a game against the Boston Celtics.

Bjelica isn’t the only role player the Warriors will need to replace this offseason after several key figures from their fourth championship team left for more money elsewhere in eight years.

Among them are defense specialist Gary Payton II, who joined the Portland Trail Blazers on a three-year deal worth $28 million. The Warriors offered Payton the full taxpayer middle-class exemption of $6.4 million annually for two seasons.

Also out is forward Otto Porter Jr. after agreeing to a two-year contract with the Toronto Raptors that includes a second-year player option. The Warriors offered Porter a deal, but it was only the veteran minimum.

Substitute Juan Tascano Anderson flew for the Lakers prompt good wishes by Warrior’s two-time MVP Steph Curry.

Golden State was able to hold center Kevon Looney, who served primarily as a starter last season, at one Three-year deal worth $25.5 million. The dubs also added Donte DiVincenzo, a former member of the Milwaukee Bucks and the Kings Two-year deal worth $9.3 million.

The Warriors are rumored to be interested in adding defensive specialist Patrick Beverley to the roster this offseason. The polarizing guard helped the Timberwolves to the playoffs last year and was recently traded to the Utah Jazz in a deal that sent All-Star Rudy Gobert to Minnesota.

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