It was a long time coming. The Brooklyn Nets signed Croatian forward Bojan Bogdanovic to a three-year contract Tuesday, more than three years after the Miami Heat made him the first pick of the second round in the 2011 NBA Draft.
The deal is reportedly for $10 million, the Nets’ taxpayer mid-level exception.
His rights didn’t stay in Miami long—the Minnesota Timberwolves acquired Bogdanovic’s rights in exchange for the rights to Cleveland State guard Norris Cole, the 28th overall pick, on draft night in 2011.
The New Jersey Nets then jumped into the fray, acquiring Bogdanovic’s rights from the Timberwolves in exchange for cash and a 2013 second-round pick.
Bogdanovic is a 25-year-old veteran of Euroleague play and is coming off a season in which he led Fenerbahce Ulker to championships in the Turkish Basketball League and the Turkish Supercup.
He averaged 14.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists last season, averaging 30.6 minutes a game.
He had an off year from 3-point range in 2013-14, hitting just 29.8 percent, but had back-to-back 40 percent-plus seasons for Fenerbahce in 2011-12 and 2012-13.
Bogdanovic began his career at 15 with Zrinjski Mostar in his home town of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, playing in the lower Croatian league.
He signed a five-year deal with Real Madrid in 2005 and was loaned back to Zrinjski Mostar for the 2005-06 season. After two years with Real Madrid’s junior team and a year where he was loaned to CB Murcia in Spain’s ACB League, he signed with Cibona Zagreb in 2009 and moved onto Fenerbahce in 2011.
Bogdanovic is a wing who can play with his back to the basket and has a deft shooting touch and he’s built a strong resume in Europe.
But he’s not without blemishes. In 2012, he was booted off the Croatian national team for violating curfew during training camp and there were reports that the then 23-year-old showed up for camp overweight and out of shape.
Some have compared him to Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari in that he’s a shooter with a versatile offensive game who won’t blow anyone away with pure athleticism.
But with the departure of incumbent small forward Paul Pierce via free agency to the Washington Wizards, Bogdanovic will join a host of other candidates—Andrei Kirilenko, Alan Anderson, Mirza Teletovic and Sergei Karasev—in a battle for the starting small forward spot.