After helping Croatia qualify for Olympics, Dario Saric again says he will play for Sixers next season

Associated Press
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Dario Saric is consistent. He has been saying for a while that he will play for Philadelphia next season, even though financially it would be wiser for him to play one more season in Europe then come over.

Saturday the 6’10 guy with the point forward skills was named the tournament MVP in leading Croatia to an Olympic berth, and immediately after he — and later his father — confirmed that Saric wants to come play in the NBA next season. Here are a couple of tweets postgame, via CSNPhilly.com.

The Sixers continue to say nothing is official and they are working on a buyout with his Turkish team, but they are hopeful he will be with the team come training camp.

The question isn’t skills, Saric has those. He brings impressive ball handling skills for his size, great scoring instincts (in the post and transition), plus he is a gifted passer. His game is ready to be tested at the NBA level, the only reason not to is money.

If Saric comes to the NBA next season (two seasons after he was drafted), he is locked into the 2014 rookie scale, meaning he would have $4.7 million guaranteed and $10.8 million 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. If Saric waits one more season and comes over for the NBA’s 2017-18 season, he is not bound by the rookie scale and can negotiate any deal he can get from Philadelphia. Nikola Mirotic did this (as did Timofey Mozgov and others), and Mirotic negotiated a 3-year deal worth $16.6 million last summer — he’s a lower pick than Saric with less potential, and he got that deal before the salary cap spiked. Conservatively, if Saric waits one more a season he should be able to to get three years $21 million from the Sixers — that’s $10 million more guaranteed and he would still be on to his second contract at the same time.

But Saric remains clear, he wants to come over now, and we apparently will at least get to meet him in Las Vegas.