Nemanja Bjelica’s departure from the Golden State Warriors had been coming for more than a month, but the move only just became official. On Tuesday, Fenerbahce of the Turkish BSL and EuroLeague finally announced that the big man had signed a two-year deal with the team.
Shortly thereafter, Bjelica took to Instagram to offer his thanks to the Warriors and their fans for an eventful year in the Bay.
“Thank you Warriors, the 2022 NBA champions. To the best fans and everyone who supported and pushed us through the whole season until the very end, thank you. To this amazing organization who believed in me and let me be part of this legendary group of players, my brates,” Bjelica wrote.
That wasn’t all the Serbian sharpshooter had to say, though, as he also hinted that he was closing the door on his NBA career.
Moving On (For Good?)
Per The Athletic’s Anthony Slater, the Warriors had designs on bringing Bjelica back for another season before he came to terms with Fenerbahce. And his abilities as a floor-spacer and rebounder are things that still warrant a spot in an NBA rotation, even as he has become a vet minimum guy.
However, the way in which Bjelica ended his heartfelt message to Dub Nation all but ruled out the possibility of a comeback in the future.
“To all of you, for this unforgettable experience to close my NBA chapter, thank you. I will always remember this season, these fans and the Bay. Always a Warrior, Thank you #DjudjuFandjo,” Bjelica’s message concluded.
All told, the 34-year-old appeared in 449 career games in the Association with four teams — the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings, Miami Heat and the Warriors — from 2015 to 2022. Over that span, he posted career averages of 7.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 20.4 minutes per contest.
He also connected on 38.4% of his career three-point attempts.
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Back to Where It All Began
As Bjelica returns to Europe for the winter of his pro hoops career, he has the luxury of being able to go out in style with the team that made him an international star. After moving from Austria back to his native Serbia and onward to Spain during his early years on the Euro circuit, he eventually settled in Turkey with Fenerbahce in 2013.
Over the next three years, he elevated his game to the point that he was honored as an All-EuroLeague First-Teamer, the EuroLeague Forward of the Year and the EuroLeague MVP in 2015.
That season, he appeared in 63 games for the Istanbul-based club across all competitions, averaging 11.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and one steal per contest while shooting 54% from the floor and 37.2% from three-point range.
While he’s no spring chicken at this point, there’s a good chance he’ll be similarly impactful for Fenerbahce during his second go-round. And Dub Nation will undoubtedly be in his corner along the way.