Nemanja Bjelica is suddenly the hot name in NBA trade rumors.
A seven-year NBA veteran and a solid stretch four — a position of need around the league — Bjelica has been squeezed out of the rotation for the most part in Sacramento because they are trying to develop Marvin Bagley III, and when he sits Harrison Barnes has played well at the position.
Which has two Eastern Conference teams with Finals aspirations calling Sacramento about a potential Bjelica trade. The Miami Heat are one of them, reports Jason Anderson at the Sacramento Bee.
Two Eastern Conference playoff contenders are believed to have interest in the veteran big man, one that went to the NBA Finals last season and another that hopes to get there this season. One of those teams is the Miami Heat, a club that can absorb Bjelica’s contract using its $7.6 million trade exception, a league source told The Sacramento Bee.
Currently, Miami starts Kelly Olynyk at the four, but it has been obvious watching them this season how much they miss what Jae Crowder brought to the lineup last year in the bubble, and the Heat are looking to replace it.
The other interested team is the 76ers, reports Sam Amick of The Athletic.
Nemanja Bjelica who has been out of Walton’s rotation since Jan. 9 and appears likely to be on the move. The Sixers, who have long been tied to Hield in terms of interest, are known to be among the teams who are considering the 32-year-old forward who has shot 39 percent from three-point range in his six seasons.
Philadelphia gives heavy minutes to Tobias Harris at the four, but behind him they could use more depth. Currently, Mike Scott gets most of the minutes.
There’s buzz around the league about other teams kicking the tires on a Bjelica trade as well.
This may not be an active trade deadline, there are a lot more buyers than sellers, and with all but a handful of teams still legitimately in the hunt for the play-in game they may be less likely to move veterans who can help them win.
Still, there will be a few trades, and Bjelica is likely to be one player on the move.