A league source familiar with the Nets off-season strategy confirms that the team has "earmarked" the mini-MLE --worth $10.3 million over three years-- for Bojan Bogdanovic, the Nets 2011 second round pick. No word on where things stand.
The team and the 6'8" swingman engaged in similar talks last summer but they failed at the last minute in large measure because Bogdanovic had a $2 million buyout. Billy King then moved on to what was called "Plan B". It turned into "Play A+" -- as one team executive called it -- the signing of Andrei Kirilenko. Bogdanovic has since changed agents and now uses Arn Tellem, who represented four Nets last season and so is familiar with the Nets needs ... and front office. Also, Bogdanovic is now a free agent with no buyout.
The Nets main competition for Bogdanovic remains his Istanbul-based team, Fenerbahce. Bogdanovic was widely expected to sign an extension with Fener because of the Nets' salary limitations. But with Shaun Livingston moving on to Golden State, the mini-MLE became open.
If the Nets and Bogdanovic reach an agreement, he would likely play at the small forward slot. With his height, strength and European experience, scouts see him as more NBA-ready than most other international players. Despite the years of up-and-down negotiations and contract issues, the Nets have remained high on him.
Billy King described him recently as "a poor man's Peja Stojakovic." When drafted, the Nets international scout, Danko Cvjeticanin, called him a cross between Stojakovic and Carlos Delfino. Bogdanovic, who'll be 25 at the start of next season, is a swingman but Fener began using him this season as a point forward, initiating pick-and-rolls. He regularly hits 40 percent from deep and gets to the line frequently. He's better than average as a passer and improving on defense.
in a vote of fans and experts following last season's Eurobasket tournament, the Bogdanovic finished fourth in the FIBA Europe Player of the Year voting, ahead of Goran Dragic of Slovenia and the Suns and behind only Tony Parker of France and the Spurs, Vassillis Spanoulis of Greece and Marc Gasol of Spain and the Grizzlies. In two preseason games against NBA teams the last two years, Bogdanovic has scored 30 points, 11 vs. Boston two years ago and 19 vs. Oklahoma City last summer.
He will play for Croatia this summer in the FIBA World Championships.