The Bogdan Bogdanovic sign-and-trade saga has been ever-present since the initial deal with the Bucks first leaked on Nov. 16. But there’s one party whose voice has been absent throughout the process, until now: Bogdanovic.
Bogdanovic spoke with Sam Amick of The Athletic about the process of being traded and then not, and the overarching message from Bogdanovic’s is that he was not involved in the Milwaukee discussions. In fact, he was completely blindsided after being told by Joe Dumars and Vivek Ranadivé earlier in the offseason that he was going to be a part of the Kings’ future plans. More than anything, as he told Amick, Bogdanovic felt confused:
“I just couldn’t believe everything was happening like that, you know? Nothing was in my hands, really. When I saw that tweet about the Milwaukee stuff, I really saw it on Twitter. It’s not bulls**t. That’s why I felt caught off guard.
“(Before free agency, and soon after the Kings fired former general manager Divac in mid-August), I remember (the Kings) called me right after they were talking with Vlade — bla bla — and they said, ‘We still want to be the same team, we still want you to (be on the team). You’re a big piece of it, you’re a big part of it.’ Bla, bla, bla. ‘We want to keep you,’ and all those stories. You know, it just caught me off guard, really.
“When someone breaks that trust level, when someone does that, from that point you don’t believe them anymore, you know? I think it was unfair a little bit because I didn’t even get a call or nothing (from the Kings) and it was 2 a.m. in my country (when the news broke). I was just confused. I remember waking up the next morning, seeing my phone just blowing up. ‘What was happening? What happened?’ Bla, bla, bla. Ah, you got traded to Milwaukee. I said, ‘Like, how can I get traded (when he’s a restricted free agent)?’”
Bogdanovic also said that there was no communication from the Kings front office once the sign-and-trade had been reported or when the tampering investigation began other than a text saying, “Thanks for being part of the team”. It’s unclear from the interview who that text came from.
The reporting has been consistent throughout that Bogdanovic did not agree to the terms of the Milwaukee deal when it was first announced because he hadn’t been contacted. At the time, that seemed like a cover to avoid a tampering penalty. However, if Bogdanovic is sticking to that story after the investigation was concluded, perhaps he really wasn’t in the loop.
The prevailing theory at this point is that the Hawks were the team to leak the sign-and-trade and file the tampering investigation because they wanted to sign Bogdanovic. They then managed to nix the Bucks deal due to technicalities and swipe in for Bogdanovic once the dust settled.
But even if that’s the case, it doesn’t sound like the Kings did right by Bogdanovic here. After the front office change, the new regime didn’t express to Bogdanovic that their priorities had changed regarding keeping him, and they don’t appear to have kept in touch with him during the Milwaukee hullabaloo, though that could be because they were afraid of tampering.
Once Bogdanovic signed the offer sheet with Atlanta, it wasn’t going to be tenable to bring him back considering he felt “betrayed” by the organization. At that point, it was time to move forward. The Kings have Tyrese Haliburton as their new guard of the future, and Bogdanovic is in a productive situation in Atlanta. Ideally, everyone leaves this commotion in the past.