Dario Saric

And-Ones: Krzyzewski, Griffin, Simmons, Patterson

Mike Krzyzewski desperately wants to win his final game as coach of Team USA, writes Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Krzyzewski demonstrated he is putting victory over player egos by pulling DeMarcus Cousins from the starting lineup in Friday’s semifinal against Spain and inserting defensive specialist DeAndre Jordan. Voisin also suggests that the closeness of many of this year’s game displays the need for a different philosophy in picking players. Krzyzewski, whose team will face Serbia in Sunday’s gold medal game, has an 82-1 record and two gold medals since taking over as Team USA coach in 2005. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will assume control of the team after the Olympics are done.

There’s more tonight from around the world of basketball:

  • Former D-League All-Star Eric Griffin, who will reportedly play in Israel next season, has a buyout clause that allows him to sign with an NBA team, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN.com. Griffin was recently cleared of an attempted murder charge in Florida, and his agent contends the case cost him a chance to play in the summer league.
  • Ben Simmons is the rookie most likely to make an impact in the NBA from the beginning, writes Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders. Blancarte picks the No. 1 draft choice because of his combination of court vision, size, athleticism and opportunity. Simmons is expected to take control of the Sixers’ offense right away. Others on Blancarte’s list, in order, are the Timberwolves‘ Kris Dunn, the Sixers‘ Joel Embiid and Dario Saric and the Pelicans‘ Buddy Hield.
  • After being claimed off waivers by the Kings, one of Lamar Patterson’s concerns was whether he could bring his pet alligator, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. His mother had been watching the creature while he played for the Hawks because he couldn’t keep it as a pet in Georgia. Jones found that California only allows pet gators if a special permit is obtained.

Eastern Notes: Saric, Ibaka, Heat, Wizards

Dario Saric has the right temperament to excel in the NBA, the elder statesman of Croatia’s Olympic team told Michael Lee of The Vertical. The 22-year-old power forward, a 2014 lottery pick, will join the Sixers this season after spending the last two years overseas. Roko Ukic told Lee that Philadelphia is getting a tough-minded player. “He’s got a great mentality,” Ukic said. “Even the time things don’t go great for him shooting-wise or offensively, he can bring so much different stuff to the table. So he can help the team in various ways. He’s not like one-way player.” Saric struggled in his Olympic debut but made a key block against Spain’s Pau Gasol to secure an upset victory, which Ukic labelled a character-building effort. “Whoever come from our country to the NBA, is like our next big thing. There is so much pressure,” he said to Lee. “These kind of wins, these kind of games can give him the push in the back and help him, not only for this tournament, but for his career.”
In other news around the Eastern Conference:
  • Serge Ibaka gives the Magic a much better defensive option against Eastern Conference counterparts LeBron James, Al Horford, Chris Bosh and Paul Millsap, as Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel breaks down in his latest column. Ibaka, who was acquired from the Thunder in a draft-night deal, provides the club with its first legitimate power forward in 15 years, Schmitz declares.
  • The Heat’s development and scouting staff will play an integral part in getting the franchise back to the status of serious contender, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel opines. The coaching staff needs to develop the skills of Hassan Whiteside, Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson, while the scouting staff must maximize next year’s first-round pick, Winderman continues. That will help attract free agents to South Beach because the Heat can no longer rely on quick fixes, Winderman adds.
  • Center Micheal Eric, who played on the Wizards’ Las Vegas summer league team, has signed with Spanish Club Bilbao, league sources informed J. Michael of CSNmidatlantic.comEric had the option of joining Washington for training camp but decided to head overseas when the club wouldn’t offer a partial guarantee, Michael adds. The 28-year-old Eric averaged 9.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in five summer league outings. 

And-Ones: Stackhouse, Labor, Olympics, Garnett

The Raptors are expected to name former All-Star Jerry Stackhouse as head coach of their D-League affiliate, Raptors 905, sources told Chris Reichert of UpsideMotor.com. Stackhouse, who played for eight teams during a career that lasted from 1995-2013, spent last season on Dwane Casey’s staff. He would replace Jesse Mermuys, who is now an assistant to new Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton. Stackhouse coached the Raptors’ Summer League team in Las Vegas last month. Raptors 905 was an expansion team last season and had several players that also saw action in the NBA, including Anthony Bennett, Bruno Caboclo, Delon Wright and Lucas Nogueira, Reichert adds.

In other news around the league:

  • NBPA executive director Michele Roberts is optimistic a new labor agreement will be reached before a potential lockout, she told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. “Our teams have been in discussions for some months now and we have made progress and we’re inclined to continue along those lines,” she said. “We have meetings this summer and we’re meeting next week and [consistently] after that. We’re trying to get a deal as quickly as we can, ideally before the start of the season.” Roberts added that if an agreement isn’t reached by the Dec. 15th deadline, the union would likely opt out, triggering the possible lockout following the season.
  • American fans will get their first look at a lot of foreign players during the Summer Olympics, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. There will be many players whose names are familiar because teams hold their draft rights, such as Croatian star Dario Saric, who recently signed to play for the Sixers next season. Other prominent names include Lithuania’s Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Spain’s Willy Hernangomez, who will both be part of the Knicks; Nigeria’s Michael Gbinije, a second-round pick of the Pistons; China’s Zhou Qi, a Rockets’ second-rounder; Spain’s Sergio Llull, who the Rockets have been trying to convince to come to the NBA, Lithuania’s Domantas Sabonis, who was traded to the Thunder on draft night; and Spain’s Alex Abrines, who recently signed with the Thunder.
  • Kevin Garnett met with Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor but no final decision materialized regarding Garnett’s future, Darren Wolfson of KSTP tweets. The 40-year-old Garnett, who appeared in 38 games last season, has one year and $8MM remaining on his contract.
  • CAA Sports signed NBA free agent guards Sergio Rodriguez and Ish Smith and negotiated deals with their new clubs, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal tweets. The Sixers signed the 30-year-old Rodriguez to a one-year, $8MM contract. Smith received a three-year, $18MM deal from the Pistons.

Sixers Notes: Hinkie, Simmons, Saric, Brown

The often-ridiculed “Process” is playing out in Philadelphia just the way former GM Sam Hinkie envisioned, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Hinkie, who resigned in April, suffered through three years of losing but left the team with a large collection of draft picks and young players who have a chance to turn around the Sixers’ fortunes quickly. Two pieces of Hinkie’s plan fell into place recently when Dario Saric left his Turkish team to sign with Philadelphia and Joel Embiid, a 2014 draft pick who has yet to play in the NBA because of injuries, was medially cleared to begin five-on-five basketball. “You have to give a lot of credit to Sam Hinkie for the recent developments that have happened,” coach Brett Brown said. “I will also say that [team president] Bryan Colangelo has done two things in my eyes. He’s jumped into this in a very selfless way and giving credit where credit is due in relation to Sam.”

There’s more this morning out of Philadelphia:

  • No. 1 pick Ben Simmons says the Sixers are a “perfect” team for him, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. Simmons has known new teammates Embiid and Jahlil Okafor since high school and thinks it will be easy to develop chemistry with them. Both players traveled to Las Vegas to cheer on the Summer League team, which gave the franchise its first look at Simmons in a Sixers uniform. “We are just going to develop him as we have done with everybody else,” said Summer League coach Lloyd Pierce. “We are going to take our time, be very patient with his growth and try not to give him too much. There are a lot of expectations on him already, but we are going to be very diligent with him and give him an opportunity to grow.”
  • Saric was surprised by the greeting he received Thursday when his flight landed in Philadelphia and a group of fans and media members met him at the airport, writes Brian Seltzer of NBA.com. Sixers fans have been waiting two years to get a glimpse of Saric after the team acquired his rights in a 2014 draft day deal with Orlando. Saric exercised his buyout clause with Anadolu Efes in Turkey and signed with Philadelphia on Friday. “I didn’t know that people would say welcome to me that way,” Saric said of his greeting. “I’m happy because the city is happy that I’m here.”
  • Brown sees Simmons and Saric as similar players and says it will be up to the coaching staff to blend their talents together, Pompey notes in a separate story. “They are two really good players,” Brown said. “So how this plays out, how we take shape, I think this a good challenge, and one that we are excited to learn more about.”

Sixers Sign Dario Saric

JULY 15, 3:58pm: The Sixers have made it official, announcing in a press release that they’ve signed Saric.

“We are thrilled to finally announce the highly anticipated signing of Dario Saric to an NBA player contract with the Philadelphia 76ers,” said GM Bryan Colangelo in a statement. “Our basketball team stands to benefit from both the on-court development and physical maturation of Dario as a professional player in Croatia and Turkey over the last few years.”

JULY 14, 8:10am: After insisting for months that he’d join the Sixers for the 2016/17 season, Dario Saric has delivered on that vow. According to agent Misko Raznatovic (via Twitter), the Sixers and Saric have agreed to terms on a new contract, and the young forward is headed to Philadelphia to sign his deal.

Philadelphia officials have been engaged in contract talks with Saric in recent weeks, with reports this week suggesting that a deal was imminent. The 22-year-old Croatian reportedly has a buyout in the neighborhood of $800K from Anadolu Efes, his team in Turkey, and NBA rules allow the Sixers to cover $650K of that. Philadelphia acquired the rights to Saric in 2014 in a draft-day deal with Orlando.

Because he’s signing his first NBA contract within three years of being drafted, Saric will be subject to the rookie scale, which was what made some observers skeptical that he’d actually join the 76ers this season. If he had waited another year, Saric would have had the freedom to negotiate a more lucrative contract. Instead, he figures to get a pact that’s identical to what this year’s 12th overall pick (Taurean Prince) will receive — that will work out to $2,318,280 for his rookie year, and $10,749,666 over the life of his four-year deal.

With Ben Simmons joining the Sixers as the No. 1 pick, Saric arriving from Turkey, and Joel Embiid looking to head into the regular season healthy for the first time since being drafted third overall in 2014, the Sixers believe they’ll have three players capable of contending for the 2016/17 Rookie of the Year award.

Dario Saric Plans To Join Sixers Next Season

JULY 13TH 5:22pm: Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo informed Saric’s Turkish club that the team intends to sign him this weekend, international journalist David Pick tweets.

JULY 9TH, 5:53pm: Dario Saric intends to be on the Sixers’ roster next season, relays Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops. Saric made his intentions clear today after leading Croatia to an Olympic berth with a win over Italy.

“I am going back home and then to USA for the 76ers,” said Saric, who was named MVP of the Olympic qualifying tournament.

Philadelphia officials have been engaged in contract talks with Saric in recent weeks, so his announcement isn’t a huge surprise. He reportedly has a buyout in the neighborhood of $800K from his Anadolu Efes team in Turkey, and NBA rules permit the Sixers to cover $650K of that. Philadelphia acquired the rights to the 22-year-old power forward in 2014 in a draft-day deal with Orlando.

Atlantic Notes: Sullinger, Saric, Lee

The Celtics‘ addition of Al Horford via free agency led to the team renounce its qualifying offer to Jared Sullinger, making him an unrestricted free agency and all but closing the door on a return to Boston for the big man. Head coach Brad Stevens is sad to see Sullinger go, but hopes the split will benefit both parties, Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com relays. “I think Jared’s a really good player, and I think Jared will continue to be a really good player,” Stevens said. “Obviously when we got Al, that made us make hard decisions. And the thing that stinks about that is having to move on and move forward, both for him and us. But he’ll do great. Jared’s one of the more talented guys being able to get the ball off the glass, and he’s got a beautiful touch and he’s a good guy, and so I think he’ll do well. I’m hopeful this move will benefit him as well, and I think it will. We’ll see where he lands, but I know there’s a lot of interest in him based on how my phone’s been ringing and everybody else’s, so I’m sure he’ll land where he wants to and do exceptionally well.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers draft-and-stash forward Dario Saric is headed to the Las Vegas summer league to meet some of his future teammates, and he is expected to sign a contract with Philadelphia that will see him join the NBA for next season, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer relays. Saric’s deadline to opt out of his overseas deal with Andolu Efes is this Sunday, Pomoey adds.
  • The Knicks viewed shooting guard Courtney Lee as the best fit for them among the available free agents at the position and believe he will be a vital part of any playoff push this coming season, writes Fred Kerber of The New York Post. “He was at the top of the list from the beginning. We like the idea of his competitive nature as player,” GM Steve Mills said of Lee. “He comes into the game wanting to defend the best perimeter player on the opposing team. We needed that type of defensive energy and ability to make shots. Just an all-around player [with a] history of starting in this league.
  • Lee was pursued by a number of teams, including the Sixers, who offered him more money than New York, but the veteran viewed the Knicks as a more enticing landing spot, Kerber relays in the same piece. “A few teams contacted. I spoke to [team president] Phil [Jackson]. I kept in contact with Joakim Noah,” Lee said. “Seeing the trade they made to get Derrick Rose, signing Joakim, discussions with Brandon Jennings, I felt the team was moving in the right direction. You already had Melo [Carmelo Anthony] and KP [Kristaps Porzingis] here. So that’s a strong core group. Thought joining this team would only increase my chances of competing in the Eastern Conference and trying to win a ring.”

Eastern Notes: Saric, Wroten, Budenholzer

It appears that the likelihood of Dario Saric joining the Sixers in time for next season is increasing, with the two sides actively engaged in contract talks, Marc Stein of ESPN.com relays. Saric will have to pay a buyout believed to be in the $800,000 range to secure his release from Efes in order to make the jump to the NBA, with league rules allowing Philadelphia to contribute $650,000 to the buyout amount, Stein notes. Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo told reporters prior to the NBA draft that Philadelphia had received “a good indication” about Saric’s willingness to make an immediate jump to the NBA, Stein adds.

Here’s the latest from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Knicks‘ release of point guard Tony Wroten after acquiring Derrick Rose from the Bulls last week raised some eyebrows around the league given New York’s rather thin backcourt depth chart. Some light has been shed on why New York parted ways with Wroten, with a league source informing Stefan Bondy and Frank Isola of The New York Daily News that the guard was waived due to an undisclosed disciplinary issue. Memphis subsequently claimed Wroten off waivers.
  • Hawks coach/executive Mike Budenholzer, who was found not guilty of a DUI stemming from a traffic stop in 2013, will not face any discipline from the NBA for this matter, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution tweets.
  • The Rose trade ushers in a new era in Chicago and GM Gar Forman says the Bulls will need retool in order to become a contender once again, Nick Friedell of ESPN.com writes. “We had a great run for 10 years,” Forman told reporters. “The last decade, we’ve got the best record in the Eastern Conference. We’ve put together a group that we thought was highly competitive and probably had a chance to get to a championship level. The injuries obviously derailed us quite a bit, especially the last few years. And then last year there were just so many of them. But we’ve got to put this back together now, going younger, more athletic and building it back up moving into the future.

Sixers Rumors: Saric, Draft, Dunn, Okafor

New 76ers general manager Bryan Colangelo has been managing expectations when it comes to the arrival of Dario Saric in Philadelphia, suggesting that there are plenty of hurdles to clear before the possibility of Saric becoming a Sixer in 2016/17 turns into a reality.

Still, even though it might make more financial sense for Saric to wait one more year, Derek Bodner of PhillyMag.com has talked to several people with knowledge of the forward’s situation who believe it’s very likely he joins the Sixers this year. According to Bodner (Twitter links), even though Philadelphia has been noncommittal about it, people close to the situation with Efes (Saric’s team in Turkey) believe the former No. 12 overall pick will make the leap to the NBA this summer.

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • With Jaylen Brown having come in for a solo workout with the 76ers on Tuesday, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer wonders if it’s a signal that the club is serious about acquiring a second top-10 pick in this year’s draft. Brown, of course, isn’t viewed as a real candidate for the No. 1 overall pick, but perhaps Philadelphia is just doing its due diligence.
  • The other players the Sixers worked out on Tuesday are potential second-round or undrafted players, as Pompey writes. Philadelphia doesn’t have a second-round pick this year, but the club will keep an eye on prospects that could be added to its D-League squad.
  • If the Sixers do acquire another top pick, one target could be Providence’s Kris Dunn. According to Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com (Twitter link), Philadelphia “absoutely loves” Dunn.
  • The 76ers announced in a press release that they’re hosting another pre-draft workout today, with six prospects in attendance: Stephen Zimmerman (UNLV), Bryn Forbes (Michigan State), Grandy Glaze (Grand Canyon), Stefan Jankovic (Hawaii), Retin Obasohan (Alabama), and David Walker (Northeastern). With the exception of Zimmerman, who ranks 35th on DraftExpress.com’s big board, today’s workout group consists of players likely to go undrafted.
  • Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders spoke to Jahlil Okafor about his rookie season and about the trade rumors that have swirled around him all year.

Sixers Rumors: Okafor, Ingram, Papagiannis, Saric

Sixers center Jahlil Okafor says he has recovered from the knee surgery that ended his season and he hopes to get back on the court soon, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Okafor’s rookie campaign came to an end March 22nd when he underwent a procedure to fix the meniscus in his right knee. On a Duke University podcast Friday, the former Blue Devil said he was hoping doctors would approve him for basketball activity over the weekend. “I’m getting anxious,” Okafor told Duke assistant coach Jon Scheyer. “I got in trouble a week and a half ago for going out there and shooting. The biggest problem is my knee feels really good. So I want to go out there and shoot.” Okafor has been the subject of recent trade rumors, along with fellow Sixers big man Nerlens Noel.

There’s more news out of Philadelphia as draft day draws closer:

  • Team officials hosted Duke’s Brandon Ingram today in advance of his workout for the team Monday, tweets radio analyst Alaa Abdelnaby. Joel Embiid and two assistant coaches joined Ingram and head coach Brett Brown for dinner, tweets Jake Fischer of Liberty Ballers. The Sixers are expected to take either Ingram or LSU’s Ben Simmons with the first pick in the June 23rd draft.
  • Sixers representatives attended a workout today by Greek center Georgios Papagiannis, Pompey writes in a separate piece. The 7’2″, 276-pound Papagiannis is projected as a possible late first-round choice. Philadelphia owns Miami’s pick at No. 24 and Oklahoma City’s at No. 26. Foreign players must decide by Monday whether or not to remain in the draft.
  • Economics may persuade Dario Saric to wait another year before coming to Philadelphia, Pompey speculates in another story. The Sixers have owned the rights to the Croatian star since making a draft-day deal with Orlando in 2014. If Saric joins the Sixers this summer, he will be subject to a rookie contract, but if he waits until 2017, he could negotiate a salary up to $6MM annually. “The timing of him coming to the NBA is still in question,” said president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo, who met with Saric and his agent this week in Turkey. “I believe there’s a desire on both sides to make it happen sooner rather than later.  But at the same time, the contract scenario, economics, etc. all plays a part in that decision making. We’ll know soon enough whether it’s going to happen for this particular season.”

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