Report: Sixers showing interest in Nemanja Bjelica

Nemanja Bjelica Sixers rumors
Nemanja Bjelica is averaging 18.3 points in 17.5 minutes per game this season.
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers certainly aren’t resting on their laurels.

Coming off an impressive 131-123 overtime victory over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night, the Sixers head into the All-Star break as the top seed in the Eastern Conference at 24-12 — a slim margin over the Brooklyn Nets.

That doesn’t mean they’re exempt from tweaking things a bit, and it appears as though that’s the plan for now.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Thursday that the Sixers are showing interest in Sacramento Kings power forward Nemanja Bjelica.

The 32-year-old sixth-year pro is in his third year with the Kings after spending his first three with the Minnesota Timberwolves where he had mostly been a bench piece.

In each of the previous two seasons, however, he started 137 of 145 games, averaging 10.6 points and 6.1 rebounds per game while shooting 41.1% from three-point range.

He’s fallen out of the rotation this season in Sacramento as the team has relied heavily on Harrison Barnes and Marvin Bagley III.

He’s started just one of 18 games this season, averaging 18.3 points in 17.5 minutes per game. His three-point shooting has experienced a heavy dip of more than 10% as he’s shooting 31% from beyond the arc in 2021.

Bjelica would bring something new to a 76ers bench unit that has been wildly inconsistent this season — which only puts added emphasis and pressure on the likes of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris to carry a majority of the offensive load.

It’s no secret that the Sixers have been looking for more options to stretch the floor. Their three-point shooting has been suspect with the added emphasis on the close-range capabilities of Embiid and the driving playmaking of Simmons.

A deeper bench and more shooting options will only help improve the Sixers’ chances of getting out of what looks as though will be an absolute slugfest at the top of the Eastern Conference between them and the Nets.

Other teams involved include the Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, and Boston Celtics.