While he did not mention Bogdan Bogdanovic by name, Fenerbahce president Aziz Yildirim recently gave a strong indication that the 23 year old, two-time Euroleague Rising Star shooting guard would remain with Fenerbahce next season rather than move to the NBA's Phoenix Suns.
According to Yildirim only one player, Ekpe Udoh, may leave the current roster: "We will keep the roster intact. Only Udoh is waiting for the NBA. He was afraid because of the attack which happened in Antep. There are 51% chances for him to stay. We will add two more players to that roster and we will keep all others".
No players were mentioned by name except for Ekpe Udoh, but it's been widely discussed that the Suns wanted Bogdanovic to join them for the 2016-17 season and would visit with him soon after Fenerbahce's Eurleague season ended in mid-May.
You'd think that if Bogdanovic was still at least on the fence about coming to the NBA, the Fenerbahce president would have mentioned him along with Udoh.
Since making that statement to keep the team together, news has surfaced that Fenerbahce re-signed Jan Vesely to a two-year, 6 million euro deal despite interest from several NBA teams after a good Euroleague season. Bogdanovic is already under contract for next season with Fenerbahce.
Last month, Fenerbahce lost the Euroleague championship game in overtime after getting down by as many as 20 points in the first half and pulling to a late lead near the end of regulation. Even the ending was controversial, as the Fenerbahce coach lamented a late call that allowed CSKA Moscow to tie the score as time expired, forcing overtime. You can imagine that most of the players immediately wanted a do-over of that game, and emotionally committed to trying it again in 2017.
Bogdanovic was drafted by the Suns with the 27th pick in 2014, but the plan was always to have him develop in Europe for 2-3 years before joining the NBA. The Suns had already drafted players at 14 (T.J. Warren) and 18 (Tyler Ennis) and did not need a third rookie on the roster competing for playing time.
Since the Suns drafted Bogdanovic, he has been named the Euroleague Rising Star two times, and this season was the leading scorer for one of the very best Euroleague teams. As the competition improved, so did Bogdanovic's scoring output. The 40% three-point shooter scored 10 points per game for a balanced Fenerbahce team in regular play, 12 points per game in Top-16 play and then 17 points per game in the playoffs.
The Suns recently said they would try to talk Bogdanovic into coming to the NBA for the 2016-17 season but the money never made sense for the Serbian. As a first round pick, he would be stuck with the rookie-scale contract commensurate with the 27th overall pick if he signs at any time within three years of that draft.
Recent reports say Bogdanovic could leave for the NBA with a manageable buyout (somewhere around $600,000). However, Bogdanovic's rookie-scale NBA contract would pay him no more than $2.2 million over two years, with a maximum of about $6 million in four years if the Suns picked up his options.
He may not make much more than that in Europe this next season, but with Fenerbahce he has a prominent role on a very good team while in the NBA he'd be fighting for scant minutes off the bench.
It's much better financially for Bogdanovic to come to the NBA in 2017, when he can sign with the Suns (who would still hold his exclusive NBA rights unless traded) at a market-value free agent contract rate. With the salary cap expected to exceed $100 million next summer, that could mean a starting salary 5-10 times bigger than anything he could sign this summer.
Bogdanovic's next confirmed competition is to join the Serbian National Team for the Olympic Qualifying Competition in Belgrade July 4-9. Serbia will compete againts five other teams for a spot in the Rio Olympics later in the summer.