by Charlie O. Mallonee
“We have (Bogdan) Bogdanovic coming over next season as another asset.” Sacramento Bee February 25, 2017
If you thought Serbian shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic was going to finish his season in Turkey and fly to Sacramento ready to put on a Kings jersey ready to play, you would be wrong. The Kings obtained the rights to Bogdanovic as part of a draft-night trade with Phoenix that sent Marquese Chriss to the Suns.
Bogdanovic was drafted in the first-round (27th overall) of the 2014 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns. The shooting guard decided to remain in Europe to play for Fenerbahçe of the Turkish Super League in part to avoid the NBA Rookie pay scale.
Now that three years have passed, Bogdanovic can negotiate a contract that pays him up to the maximum of a free agent with 0-6 years of experience in the NBA. A max deal at that contract level is projected to be $26-million dollars per year under the new CBA. Bogdanovic is not going get 26-mil but he is throwing down the gauntlet that he is not going to settle for $3 to 5-mil per year. This guy and his agents are looking for a major payday.
After researching his value, I still have no real idea where to place the “Euro” shooting guard on the salary chart. My guess (this is a pure “WAG”) is that Bogdanovic’s agent will be looking for a 3-year, $30-million deal with a one-year player option. This player and his agent have played hardball for three years, this will not be an easy negotiation.
Bogdanovic is having a very nice EuroLeague season. He is averaging 13.3 points per game while shooting a 55.2-percentage for 2-point shots and 38-percent from 3-point range. He scored a season-high 27 points against Olympiacos Piraeus on February 23rd. By all accounts, he is a talented and still developing player with a tremendous upside.
Here is the downside. If Bogdanovic joins the NBA next season, he will be 25-years old. That is almost ancient by today’s NBA standards where first-round draft picks are 19-years old. A team will be asked to make a veteran level dollar investment in a player who will have a shorter career in “the Association” and has never played a minute in the NBA.
Bogdanovic might come into the NBA and have an instant impact while becoming an All-Star. The more likely scenario is that he will come into the league as rookie with a big learning curve and struggle like most rookies do while he adjusts to playing basketball at the highest level in the world.
Bogdanovic at the advice of his advisers has already played a very dangerous game with the NBA in order to up his contract value. If he spurs the Kings for next season, he takes an even more calculated chance that teams will want to invest big money in a 26-year old rookie. The “Euro” star needs to remember the big, new CBA money will not stay uncommitted for long.
For the Kings, this is a time to be prudent. They now have two first-round picks in a star-studded draft. They really like Bogdanovic’s game or they would not have included him in the Phoenix deal, but they need to cautious. Before backing up the “money dump truck”, the Kings must remember Bogdanovic has played zero minutes in the NBA where it is a brand-new game.