If I were Dario Saric’s agent, I would be telling him — begging him — to play one more season overseas. I can give him more than $10 million reasons it’s a good idea.
However, Saric has repeatedly said he plans to come to the NBA next season, bringing his 6’10” frame and guard-like skills.
Colangelo believes the shape of the roster, including who the Sixers select in the draft, could have an impact on Saric’s decision.
“We think this is good timing for him,” Colangelo said. “We hope that he does have a desire to be here.”
Here’s the math. If Saric comes to the NBA next season (two seasons after he was drafted) he is locked into the 2014 rookie scale, meaning his salary would be (via our own Dan Feldman).
2018-19: $2,526,840 (team option)
2019-20: $3,481,986 (team option)
For those of you counting at home, that’s about $4.7 million guaranteed and $10.8 for the four years of the contract. After three seasons, the Sixers could offer a contract extension beyond this deal, but he would be locked in for the rookie scale that fourth year.
However, if Saric waits one more season and comes over for the NBA’s 2017-18 season, he can negotiate any deal he can get from Philadelphia. This is what Tiago Splitter and Nikola Mirotic did, and Mirotic negotiated a 3-year deal worth $16.6 million last summer. That would be Mirotic, the 23rd pick in the draft who signed before the salary cap spike that will come the next two years in the NBA thanks to the new national television deal. Saric was the 12th pick. Conservatively, if Saric waits for a season he should be able to to get three years $21 million from the Sixers, or four years $28 million (that will be about the average NBA salary). That’s at least — at least — $10 million more guaranteed. If your argument is “he gets to his second contract faster coming over now” you are wrong — he would still be under his rookie deal through 2020, if he comes over next summer he can sign a three-year deal for $10 million more and he would still be a free agent in 2020.
Maybe it’s not all about the money with him, maybe Saric wants to be in the NBA that badly. If so, more power to him. But I’ll believe it when I see it. This is a business and staying overseas one more year is the smart business move.