Former NBA Champion Given The Boot By Turkish Team

After a seven-year career in the NBA, and a championship ring earned with the 2022 Golden State Warriors, Serbian big man Nemanja Bjelica headed overseas to sign a two-year contract last summer with Fenerbahce Beko to continue his playing career in Turkey.

However, the Turkish team has now cut ties with Bjelica after just one season. The 35-year-old was only able to play in seven EuroLeague games due to a calf injury. 

The general manager of Fenerbahce has told both Bjelica and another past NBA player, Nick Calathes, that they are no longer needed on the squad.

“We have communicated to both Bjelica and Calathes and their managers that we are not considering them in our plans for this year," said the GM of the Istanbul club, Derya Yannier. 

Whether either will try to return to the NBA is unknown. Bjelica's last season, in 2022, ended with a championship, though his playoff contributions were minimal, playing 10 minutes per game, and averaging 2.9 points and 2.1 rebounds. He had a more significant role during the Dubs' regular season that year, playing 16 minutes a night, and posting 6.1 points and 4.1 rebounds. 

Overall, in his seven NBA seasons, the 6'10 PF/C averaged 7.6 points and 4.6 boards in 20 minutes per game.

Calathes, a Florida native, has long since given up hope of an NBA return, having last played in North America for the Memphis Grizzlies in 2015. He's now 34. 

Photo: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports