Derek Bodner covers the 76ers for Philadelphia magazine. Follow @DerekBodnerNBA on Twitter.
Report: Dario Saric Says He Will Sign with the Sixers this Summer
According to a report from Slobodna Dalmacija, a Croatian newspaper, Dario Saric has informed reporters that he will join the Sixers this summer once the Olympic qualifying tournaments are complete.
Saric is currently in Croatia training for the Olympic qualifying tournament, which will be held from July 4th through July 9th.
Saric has one more year remaining on his contract with Anadolu Efes in Turkey, but he has a buyout which could allow him to get out of that contract and come over to the NBA this summer.
While there are financial incentives for Saric to wait one more year and avoid the NBA’s rookie scale, Saric has been steadfast in his insistence he will come over at the first possible opportunity, which happens to be this summer. Today’s comments are perhaps the most definitive yet from the Croatian forward.
A translation of the article was provided by the twitter account CroSports.
“I have one more year on my contract with Efes and (coach) Perasovic wants me to stay, but I promised them (the Sixers) that I would come over after two seasons,” the translation claims Saric said. “For me, what you promise is the most important.
“I’m waiting for this tournament (Olympic qualifying tournament) to end so that I can sit down and work out a deal, then head over to the USA to sign,” the translation continues.
The article goes on to state that Saric is not deterred by the Sixers’ drafting of Ben Simmons, who many project will play the same position as Saric.
Saric has until July 17th to inform Efes of his decision.
Saric’s buyout with Efes is in the $800,000 range, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. The Sixers can contribute up to $650,000 of that, per league rules. The rest Saric will have to pay out of the guaranteed portion of his rookie scale contract if he does ultimately decide to come over.
Saric averaged 11.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game in the Turkish League for Efes this past season, shooting 41 percent from three-point range. He also averaged 11.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game in 24 Euroleague contests, shooting 40.3 percent from three-point range in Euroleague competition.
That perimeter shooting has been a big addition to Saric’s game, and something he didn’t have in his arsenal as a consistent weapon just two years ago, when he shot just 31.8 percent from three-point range in combined Adriatic League and Eurocup competition.
Saric was acquired by the 76ers in a draft day trade with the Orlando Magic during the 2014 draft, when Saric was selected 12th overall.
Saric could possibly be joining French wing Timothu Luwawu and fellow teammate Furkan Korkmaz on the Sixers roster, continuing an infusion of international talent started by former general manager Sam Hinkie and continued Bryan Colangelo, who selected Luwawu (24th overall) and Korkmaz (26th) last Thursday’s NBA draft.
Both Luwawu and Korkmaz are currently under contract, but Luwawu is expected to be bought out and play in the NBA next season, and Korkmaz doing so remains a possibility as well.