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Report: After backing out of agreement with Sixers, Nemanja Bjelica talking to Kings

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Nemanja Bjelica had found a comfort level in Minnesota, but when Tom Thibodeau pulled his qualifying offer — to sign Anthony Tolliver — it left the Serbian forward without a deal. Philadelphia raced in with a one-year, $4.4 million offer, and he took it.

Then on Tuesday, he backed out, saying he wanted to return to Europe with his family. What he said he wanted was stability, he told Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

“It’s not about coach or the Philly organization,” Bjelica told The Athletic in a phone conversation on Tuesday. “Brett Brown, he’s a great guy and a great coach. The most important thing for me is family and some kind of stability…

“I’m thankful for Philly for the opportunity, but I will always do what is the best for my family,” Bjelica said. “At that point, I was considering European life.”

Or, Sacramento. Which I am fairly confident is not in Europe. From Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Bjelica wanted stability, something that doesn’t always come easily in the NBA life. Clearly, Vlade Divac is pitching a longer-term deal of some kind to provide that stability for Bjelica and his family.

I get why he’s doing it — this is still a bad look for Bjelica and his agent. He gave his word, then backed out of the deal saying he wanted to play in another league. Now he’s talking to another NBA team, a competitor. I get it, teams are not loyal to players either, they lie to them too — just ask DeMar DeRozan — but it doesn’t make this move right. It’s not a great look for the Kings, either.

On the court, Bjelica is a fit with the Kings in that he can be part of the rotation with Marvin Bagley III, Harry Giles and the rest of a crowded Kings’ frontcourt. Bjelica provides needed floor spacing and shooting — I really like him as a player. I liked him in Minnesota and wish Thibodeau trusted him more, I liked the idea of how he fit in Philly, and I would like him in Sacramento.

But this is just awkward.

Report: Nemanja Bjelica backs out of contract agreement with 76ers to return to Europe

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Nemanja Bjelica had his $4,937,499 qualifying offer pulled by the Timberwolves (so they could sign Anthony Tolliver while remaining out of the luxury tax).

Bjelica rebounded with the 76ers, agreeing to take the $4,449,000 room exception for one year.

But…

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

DeAndre Jordan 2.0? Maybe. We don’t know exactly what, if any, contingencies Bjelica and Philadelphia put on the agreement.

A key distinction: Jordan pledged to sign with the Mavericks and reneged all during the July moratorium, when he couldn’t officially sign. Bjelica’s deal with Philadelphia came out a day before the moratorium ended, and he could have signed during the last 11 days.

Teams often delay signing players with the room exception, because they can exceed the cap with it. But the 76ers have long used up their cap space. Unless they have a bigger deal in mind and asked Bjelica to wait just in case, they should have known for a while something might be amiss.

Bjelica is better than any remaining unrestricted free agent, so he won’t be easily replaced. Philadelphia will probably hold its room exception for potential buyout players, as it’s unclear anyone available could command more than a minimum salary.

The 76ers certainly viewed Bjelica as a replacement for Ersan Ilyasova, who left for the Bucks. Depth matters, but at least Philadelphia still has a stretch four in Dario Saric, who improved his range (and a lot more) last season.

Bjelica’s defection will also help, though not solve, the 76ers’ roster crunch. They still have 16 players clearly getting standard contracts – one more than the regular-season limit – and 2017 second-round Jonah Bolden has stated a plan to sign with Philadelphia for next season. So, the 76ers might have to buy out Jerryd Bayless and/or waive players like Justin Anderson and Furkan Korkmaz.

Report: Rockets signing James Ennis

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Interrupting all the handwringing about the Rockets losing forwards Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, Houston is adding a combo forward.

Not Carmelo Anthony (yet).

James Ennis.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Houston might have dipped into its mid-level exception for Ennis. This might be a minimum contract. The player option – which makes Ennis more expensive next season (in direct salary and luxury tax) due to the NBA’s policy for one-year minimum contracts – and the Rockets’ strong team could have set them apart from other minimum-offering suitors.

The 6-foot-7 Ennis is big and athletic enough to handle several defensive matchups. He’ll fit right into Houston’s switching scheme. He’s a capable 3-point with enough off-ball activity to get some easy looks set up by James Harden and Chris Paul.

Ennis isn’t as good as Ariza or Mbah a Moute, and at 28, Ennis doesn’t have major upside. But Ariza and Mbah a Moute are already gone, and at this point, Ennis is a decent fallback.

Report: Zaza Pachulia signs one-year deal with Detroit Pistons

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At least one member of the Golden State Warriors championship core is moving away from the team.

Fifteen-year NBA veteran Zaza Pachulia has agreed to sign a one-year, $2.4 million deal with the Detroit Pistons. That figure represents a minimum salary contract for Pachulia given his experience.

Via Twitter:

Pachulia’s advanced statistics suggest that he is still a useful player, although his age and minutes might dictate how much of an impact he has on the box score this coming season for the Pistons. Detroit already has several star forwards, including Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, and they have useful backups like Jon Leuer.

What the Pachulia’s role will be at this time in his career and for a team that is not expected to contend for a championship is unclear. However, getting a veteran presence on the Pistons is a solid move for Dwane Casey as he tries to reform the culture of the team in his own vision.

Do you have a question about the NBA you need answered? Our PBT Mailbag publishes on Wednesdays, so send your question to have it answered by our team of NBA experts. E-mail us at: pbtmailbag@gmail.com.

Report: Avery Bradley returning to Clippers for two-years, $25 million

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Last season was a rough one for Avery Bradley.

The fit with the Pistons’ offense was not smooth, he struggled with turnovers so Stan Van Gundy shipped him out to the Clippers as part of the Blake Griffin trade. Los Angeles was supposed to be a chance for Bradley to correct course, but injuries cut his time on the court in L.A. short.

The Clippers must have seen something they liked, they are bringing him back, something is broken by Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Bradley will split time at the two guard spot with Lou Williams (Bradley will probably start, Williams was the Sixth Man of the Year). He could play a little three in a small-ball lineup.

If he gets healthy and back to form, this is a quality signing at a fair price for the Clippers. Los Angeles is not going to be tanking, this is still a solid lineup from Patrick Beverley at the point through Marcin Gortat at the five. Not sure they make the playoffs in a brutal West, but it’s a good lineup.