APRIL 16TH, 8:29am: Dario Saric‘s new agent, Misko Raznatovic, says his client will declare for the NBA draft, as he tells Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. Still, Raznatovic isn’t sure whether Saric will withdraw by the June 16th deadline, as he did last year, or remain in this year’s field of early entrants, suggesting that if he and Saric feel that the 6’10” forward will go within the top 10 to 14 picks, Saric won’t pull out. Saric nonetheless believes that he’ll sign with a European team and remain overseas for another year or two regardless of whether he’s drafted this year, though he hasn’t made a final decision about that, as Raznatovic explains.
Saric is No. 9 in Givony’s prospect rankings, and No. 14 with Chad Ford of ESPN.com, though Ford says he’d have Saric higher if it were clear that he’d play in the NBA next season. That seems to indicate that Saric will be drafted high enough to meet Raznatovic’s threshold for remaining in the draft, making him a likely “draft-and-stash” player. Some teams have been burned when they’ve used high draft picks on overseas players unwilling to immediately come stateside, most notably the Magic, who spent the 11th overall pick in 2005 on Fran Vazquez, who’s yet to play in the NBA. Raznatovic insists that Saric won’t go down that path.
“I really believe that after talking for five minutes with Dario, that doubt will be gone,” Raznatovic said. “He cannot wait to become a NBA player, and this is his ultimate goal. He will be in the league no later than 2016, and with good chances to start earlier.”
The agent, who announced that he’d signed with Saric last week, is the latest to dispute a report late last month that Saric had agreed to a deal with a team in Turkey that wouldn’t allow him to go to the NBA until 2016. Raznatovic suggests that his ties to Dusan Ivkovic, another client of his who’s rumored to become the next coach of the Turkish team, fueled erroneous speculation that Saric was headed to Turkey.
Saric’s professional future has been clouded with mystery in recent weeks, with back-and-forth fueled by his father and a former agent, among others. Raznatovic downplays the significance of comments from Saric’s father, who’s advocated that his son stay in Europe, saying that the elder Saric isn’t anti-NBA and is just looking out for his son’s well-being. Raznatovic promises that the instability surrounding his client is over, though I suspect there will continue to be speculation about Saric until he signs with an NBA team.