Dario Saric

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.”

Bryan Colangelo On: Top Pick, Embiid, Noel, Saric

The Sixers have a busy and important offseason ahead of them. The team is armed with a wealth of salary cap flexibility as well as the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft, and Bryan Colangelo, the team’s new president of basketball operations, will be the man tasked with restoring basketball in Philadelphia to its once former greatness. The executive discussed a number of topics with Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com recently, and while the entire interview is most definitely worth a read, here are some of the highlights:

On the likelihood of trading Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor:

I don’t know that there’s a likelihood. I can’t put a number on it. I would just simply tell you that there’s been conversations and there’s been a lot of interest expressed in some of the players that we have, but nothing that’s made enough sense to pull the trigger on. We’ve talked about the five position in particular.

On the possibility of dealing away the No. 1 overall pick this June:

It hasn’t been in any realistic conversation. There’s been a few people that have inquired. As I’ve said before, you never say never in this business. But I would still say it’s highly unlikely that the pick is in play in a deal, given the nature of this draft. I’ve always said you never say never, but I can’t imagine a deal coming forward that would stop us from making that selection. What’s probably more in play is the 24th and 26th pick, which kind of ties into the notion that we’ve got a fairly young team. We want to pick up the pace with regards to the winning aspect of basketball games. What we’d like to do is find a way to best utilize those picks to help us achieve that goal. If it happens that we use both and select, it’s probably going to be because we didn’t have a good alternative in terms of a deal or we felt those players could help us get where we wanted to go.

On deciding between Ben Simmons (LSU) and Brandon Ingram (Duke) for the top pick:

You can make an argument either way that Brandon Ingram would fit well and that Ben Simmons would fit well. That’s the discussion. Those are the conversations that we’re having to try to determine not just which player will ultimately have the better career and achieve a higher status, but which player is the best fit as well. It’s a combination of things for us. When you look at both it’s pretty hard to imagine that either one would be a wrong choice. It’s a good position to be in. I can’t tell you that as we sit here on June 10th that a decision’s been made by anybody. We may be leaning one direction or another. But it’s safer to say that you don’t have to make a decision until the 23rd.

On draft-and-stash pick Dario Saric, who was recently scouted by the front office:

He really showed his full repertoire, everything from some post moves and some good interior passing to an improved shot.The perimeter shot looks like it’s really coming. He’s got a full range of ball skills and passing skills. I think his game will definitely translate to the NBA in a positive way. The timing of him coming to the NBA is still in question. 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., etc. all plays a part in that decision making. We’ll know soon enough whether it’s going to happen for this particular season. That’s our goal and our desire. I think in the next few weeks we’ll have more clarity.

On the possibility that center Joel Embiid will play in the Summer League:

People are just looking for a timeline. There’s no timeline. But until I hear a doctor tell me ‘No summer league,’ I will always say anything’s open. But the likelihood of him playing summer league is nil. I would only say that because of where he is in the progression right now. But if he makes enough progress and the doctors say he’s ready to go there’s no reason he shouldn’t. But having said that, I would say it’s a 99% chance, maybe a 100% chance, that he’s not going to play. We just don’t want to put him in a situation where he hasn’t been playing competitive basketball. We probably want to ease into that and that would mean sometime after summer league. But if he is going to come into training camp you want him to have at least a little bit of flow and a little bit of rhythm and to be in a position where he could have tested the foot to the extent that he’s ultimately going to be exposed in a training-camp environment.”

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Moultrie, Raptors, Sixers

The Knicks aren’t going to land a marquee free agent like Kevin Durant this offseason, but there are plenty of more realistic targets that the team could pursue in July. Tommy Beer of Basketball Insiders singles out a few of those potential free agent targets for the Knicks, writing that Brandon Jennings, Eric Gordon, Evan Fournier, Courtney Lee, Ty Lawson, and a handful of others would make sense for the club.

Speaking of attainable free agent targets, the Knicks are taking a look at a few available veterans this week at a mini-camp, with former first-round picks Anthony Bennett, Royce White, and Arnett Moultrie among the participants, per Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Moultrie, a 2012 first-rounder, has hired Travis King of Relativity Sports for representation, according to HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Here’s more from out of the Atlantic:

  • In a conversation with TSN’s Josh Lewenberg (video link), Raptors head coach Dwane Casey talks about his new contract and about Toronto’s offseason, suggesting that the team will target shooting and defensive toughness this summer.
  • The 76ers filled some vacancies on their coaching staff by promoting Kevin Young and John Bryant, a pair of coaches from their D-League affiliate, sources tell Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Meanwhile, Sixers shooting coach Gene Burroughs will become the head coach of the Delaware 87ers, Philadelphia’s D-League team, while former Sixers assistant Will Weaver is a candidate to join the Nets‘ coaching staff.
  • Bryan Colangelo and Brett Brown of the Sixers are currently overseas, visiting 2014 first-round pick Dario Saric and scouting international players, tweets Pompey.

Atlantic Notes: J.R. Smith, Vogel, Saric, Embiid

J.R. Smith is having a strong playoff run for the Cavaliers, but he thinks back fondly on his time with the Knicks, as he reveals in a video for VICE Sports, pointing to his close friendship with Carmelo Anthony and the lure of Madison Square Garden (YouTube link). “Every person that plays in the NBA should experience playing in New York, at least once in your career,” Smith said. “To play at the mecca of basketball, at the Garden, every night, it’s probably the greatest decision I’ve ever made, to go to New York.” Smith, who can opt out of his contract this summer, spoke about his initial anger at the trade that sent him to Cleveland last January, but he also made it clear that he loves playing with LeBron James.

See more from New York amid the latest news from the Atlantic Division:

  • Frank Vogel‘s representatives gave positive signals to the Knicks when the team reached out to gauge his interest last week, a league source told Marc Berman of the New York Post, who nonetheless adds that the Grizzlies are a much more likely match for the ex-Pacers coach. Vogel is widely believed to be the favorite to take the Memphis job, as Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal wrote.
  • GM Bryan Colangelo wants to be reassured when he visits Dario Saric in Turkey later this month, but the Sixers expect the draft-and-stash prospect will join them for next season, and coach Brett Brown is particularly optimistic, as remarks he made Monday on The Comcast Network’s “Breakfast on Broad” show demonstrate. Brian Seltzer of Sixers.com has the transcription. “He so much wants to be a part of the 76ers organization when we speak,” Brown said. “I ended up sending him a photo of a young kid in the stands with a Saric jersey on, and the response is like what it is, ‘I can’t wait to get [to Philadelphia].’”
  • Still, financial incentive remains for Saric to wait to sign with the Sixers until 2017, when he’ll no longer be subject to the rookie scale, with one source who spoke to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer of the belief that Saric would be in line for a contract that pays him about $6MM a year. He’d get less than half that on a rookie scale deal.
  • Colangelo said on the same “Breakfast on Broad” program that the Sixers are encouraged by what they’ve seen from Joel Embiid as he continues to recover from last summer’s second surgery on his broken foot, Seltzer notes.
  • Willie Reed, who was away from the Nets for unexplained personal reasons at the end of the season, clearly wasn’t pleased with interim coach Tony Brown, but he likes new coach Kenny Atkinson and made it clear that he wants to re-sign with Brooklyn as he spoke Monday on the “Brown and Scoop” show on CBS Radio, as Anthony Parisi of NetsDaily relays.

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