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Kings don’t want to take long-term salary back in a Nemanja Bjelica trade

If a team wants Nemanja Bjelica, they’re going to have to give the Kings an expiring contract and draft compensation.

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NBA: Toronto Raptors at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA trade deadline is three days away, and the Sacramento Kings seem willing to listen to offers for just about anyone on the roster not named De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton. However, there’s one player on the roster who is almost guaranteed to be on another team by the time the trade deadline passes: Nemanja Bjelica.

The 32-year-old big man hasn’t requested a trade from the Kings, but given where Sacramento is in the Western Conference standings, the rumors that he’s unhappy with his role and the amount of interest he reportedly has league-wide, it would be surprising to see him finish the season with the team.

But whether or not Bjelica’s departure from the team comes by way of a trade or a buyout depends on the Kings’ asking price for him, and thanks to a recent report by Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, we now have an idea of what Monte McNair is looking for:

There’s a belief from several opposing executives that the Kings can move Bjelica for at least one second-round pick. If Sacramento is willing to take on some additional salary past this season, more draft pick compensation could be added in a potential deal, the executives estimated. The Kings, however, ideally don’t want to take back salary past this season in a Bjelica trade, league sources told HoopsHype.

Earlier this month, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors, Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics were among the teams that have shown interest in Bjelica. Since then, the Heat have traded for Trevor Ariza, but they still have the assets to pull off a trade for Bjelica because of how low his salary is. The same can be said for most of the teams that have reportedly expressed interest in Bjelica, which is why it would be so surprising to see the Kings not find a trade partner before Thursday.