Rumors that the Sixers are trying to get draft-and-stash prospect Dario Saric to join the team next year could be a sign that patience is wearing thin in Philadelphia, writes Tom Moore of Calkins Media. The Sixers acquired the draft rights to the Croatian forward, who was the No. 12 pick in the 2014 draft, expecting him to spend time overseas before coming to the NBA. He signed a three-year deal with Anadolu Efes of Turkey that doesn’t include a buyout until next summer, but there are rumblings that the Sixers want to find a way to get their hands on him as soon as possible. Moore speculates that ownership may be tiring of GM Sam Hinkie’s long-term plan of losing games and collecting assets, which is leading to declining revenue and half-empty arenas on game nights. They want to combine Saric with Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid and this year’s No. 3 pick to create a foundation that fans can get excited about. Moore also writes that Hinkie will likely try to deal one of his potential 2016 first-round picks (from the Thunder, Lakers or Heat) for an extra first-round choice this year.
There’s more this morning from Philadelphia:
- The Sixers are talking to “experts and specialists” to determine the next step with Embiid, Moore writes in a separate story. Hinkie issued a statement Saturday night that a CT scan indicates Embiid’s right foot shows “less healing than anticipated at this point.” Embiid may be kept out of summer league, and another surgery could put his 2015/16 season in jeopardy, Moore notes. “These findings cause us to pause and reassess his current activities,” Hinkie said.
- The Embiid setback is especially disappointing considering what he has shown in recent workouts, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. He writes that eyewitnesses have described Embiid’s “dominant, explosive performances” and noted that he looked like the player the Sixers expected when they drafted him No. 3 out of Kansas last summer. Embiid hadn’t felt pain in the foot despite weeks of rigorous workouts, sources told Wojnarowski.
- Despite the Sixers’ on-court problems, Hinkie is building a solid reputation as a talent evaluator, writes Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com. The columnist credits Hinkie for a draft coup in 2013, when wound up with No. 6 pick Noel and Michael Carter-Williams at No. 11. Carter-Williams was named Rookie of the Year in 2014, and after missing a year due to injury, Noel finished third in the 2015 balloting.