The Sixers continue to receive signs that Croatian star Dario Saric will be part of their roster next season, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Player-development assistant Chris Babcock recently spent eight days with Saric, who is playing for Anadolu Efes in Turkey. The trip left Philadelphia officials confident that Saric is ready to join the NBA. “Obviously, decisions are going to have to be made on his part,” said Sixers coach Brett Brown. “But we like what we see and we believe he likes what he sees.” Philadelphia acquired the rights to the 6’10” power forward in a 2014 draft-day trade with Orlando.
There’s more out of Philadelphia:
- Elton Brand saw his first game action Friday since signing with the Sixers January 4th, writes Derek Bodner of Philadelphia magazine. With injuries to Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel leaving Philadelphia short-handed, Brand played 13 minutes, scoring eight points and collecting four rebounds. “Contrary to reports, I was thinking I was going to play all season when I got here,” said Brand, who will turn 37 next week. “But you see guys like Carl [Landry], Richaun [Holmes], guys working so hard, I didn’t mind not playing.” Okafor and Noel are both listed as day-to-day, so it’s uncertain how much more court time Brand can expect.
- Injured center Joel Embiid has returned from Qatar and participated in Friday’s pre-game workout, Bodner writes in the same piece. Embiid visited Aspetar, a Middle Eastern orthopedic and sports medicine hospital, to help with the rehab process on his surgically repaired right foot. Bodner included a video of Embiid’s pre-game routine with his story.
- Embiid’s long recovery time presents another reason for concern, notes Bob Ford of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The normal recovery period for tarsal navicular surgery is six months, but GM Sam Hinkie has already said Embiid won’t be ready for summer league action, even though it will have been 11 months since the operation.