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Bhullar signs with NBA’s Sacramento Kings

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — New Mexico State’s Sim Bhullar became the first player of Indian descent to sign a contract with an NBA team Friday, inking a deal to join the Sacramento Kings in training camp.

Sim Bhullar — a 7-foot-5, 360-pound former player at New Mexico State University — signed a contract with the Sacramento Kings of the NBA. (AP Photo/David Becker)

Sim Bhullar — a 7-foot-5, 360-pound former player at New Mexico State University — signed a contract with the Sacramento Kings of the NBA. (AP Photo/David Becker)

“Dreams do come true! Officially signed my first NBA contract with the @sacramentokings,” Bhullar wrote on Twitter.

Terms of the contract were not disclosed. If Bhullar lands on the Kings roster for the 2014-15 season, the minimum NBA salary for rookies is $507,366.

“I’ve long believed that India is the next great frontier for the NBA, and adding a talented player like Sim only underscores the exponential growth basketball has experienced in that nation,” said Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, the league’s first Indian-born majority owner.

“While Sim is the first player of Indian descent to sign with an NBA franchise, he represents one of many that will emerge from that region as the game continues to garner more attention and generate ever-increasing passion among a new generation of Indian fans.”

The 7-foot-5, 360-pound Bhullar was born in Toronto and played two seasons for the Aggies, for whom he averaged 10.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.9 blocks. He twice earned MVP honors in leading the Aggies to the championship of the Western Athletic Conference tournament – and the accompanying automatic NCAA Tournament berth.

Undrafted this spring, Bhullar was part of the Kings team that won the NBA’s Summer League tournament in Las Vegas last month. He will compete for a spot in training camp behind center DeMarcus Cousins and could be a candidate to join the franchise’s NBA Development League affiliate in Reno, Nev., where he could have more time to develop his skills.

The Kings open training camp for the 2014-15 season in September.

“It’s a big achievement and we are all proud of Sim,” said Avneet Bhullar, who is Sim’s sister. “But there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, and we are excited for what the future holds.”

“Obviously we are very excited for Sim and the whole Aggie family,” Aggies coach Marvin Menzies said in a text message to the Las Cruces Sun-News. “… I’m very happy with the direction of the program, and hopefully Sim will be the first of many NBA players produced by NMSU under my tenure. Sacramento just gained more fans with one signature than they are aware of. This professional goal was achieved with a lot of love and support from his family and teammates and the whole university.”

Sim Bhullar’s younger brother, 7-3 Tanveer, is expected to play his redshirt freshman season this coming year at NMSU.

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