It was just recently that it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that young international sensation Dario Saric would be joining the Philadelphia 76ers for the upcoming NBA season.
That no longer seems to be the case.
Citing sources close to the situation, the Bucks County Courier Times reported on Friday that the former lottery pick may in fact remain in Turkey, primarily due to a complicated rule regarding salaries for young players in the NBA.
“He makes 1.5 million Euros ($1.66 million US) playing in Turkey,” said the source Thursday night, the Courier Times reported. “It’s a comfortable living. Why come over and risk that and go back to the rookie-scale contract when you’ve completed two-thirds of not having to be on the rookie scale? This is before the draft.”
If Saric were to decide to play a third season in Turkey, he wouldn’t be obligated to sign a NBA deal under the guise of the rookie scale. This means that his first contract could nearly double from the four-year, $9 million he’d have to agree to if he were to join Philadelphia this season.
This comes on the heels of Philadelphia’s brass displaying confidence that Saric would make the jump to the NBA (more on that here).
Saric, 22, was selected by the Orlando Magic with the 12th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and promptly traded to Philadelphia for the 10th pick in that year’s draft, Elfrid Payton.
He’s considered one of the top international prospects in the entire game. The 6-foot-10 power forward averaged 11.7 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field for the Turkish professional team Anadolu Efes this past season.
Even with this year’s No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons aboard, Philadelphia was counting on Saric to make that leap from overseas. If he does indeed decide to remain in Turkey, that could impact the team’s decision to trade either Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor.