Saric has officially signed with the 76ers. Saric's signing has been in the making since the Sixers traded for his rights during the 2014 Draft. Over that time, Saric has remained in Europe, playing for Anadolu Efes of the Turkish Super League. A two-time FIBA Europe Young Men's Player of the Year Award winner, the 22-year-old Saric averaged 11 points and six rebounds while converting 41 percent of his three-pointers last season. Touted as a savvy 6-10 forward with good court vision, Saric may find himself playing behind similarly-skilled rookie Ben Simmons this season, but his outside shooting ability could allow both youngsters to play together. Overall, the Sixers will be relieved to finally have Saric join the team, giving them yet another talented front court asset.
Saric told European reporters that he plans to join the 76ers later in July, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports. Saric has yet to officially sign a contract with the 76ers, but it seems like a foregone conclusion at this point, as the Croatian forward has suggested for months that he'll play in the NBA in 2016-17. The 22-year-old was one of the top young players in the Euroleague last season while playing for Turkish club Anadolu Efes, and would provide more of a stretch four element to the 76ers' frontcourt. The team currently boasts a crowded big man rotation that counts all of Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, Ben Simmons and Jerami Grant as viable options, but the 76ers could move one of the former two players later this summer in order to open up more minutes for Saric.
Saric is set to complete his Turkish League season Monday and is expected to meet with members of the 76ers' front office in the coming weeks, NBA.com reports. Widely considered one of the top players in Europe, Saric's long-awaited arrival to the NBA is expected to come in 2016-17, though nothing is official at this point. Still, the organization has expressed optimism over the last few months, and that tone has continued into the offseason. "He so much wants to be a part of the 76ers organization when we speak," head coach Brett 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].'" Saric, a likely stretch-four in the NBA, would immediately be a major boost to a franchise whose future could look considerably brighter if it's able to land another young asset or two at the top of the draft. Philadelphia holds the best odds to win the lottery, and it owns the rights to the Lakers' pick, should it fall outside of the top three. The influx of talent could be enough to convince Saric to officially decide to come over, and president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo indicated that he'll talk with Saric about the decision soon. "I think what Brett and I are planning to do is taking a trip over to Istanbul here shortly," Colangelo said. "We're going to sit down with him, we're going to sit down with perhaps members of his family, his agent. We're going to talk about all the alternatives, and why we think it's a good time for him to come over right now. I think this is a great opportunity for him. We think this is good timing for him."
Saric recently told his teammates with Turkish club Anadolu Efes that he intends to join the 76ers during the offseason, international basketball reporter David Pick reports. It's been suggested for several months now that Saric was planning to join the 76ers for the start of the 2016-17 season, and this report only gives further credence to that notion. The 76ers will have to buy Saric out of the rest of his contract with Anadolu in order to bring him over, but that should only be a minor inconvenience for the organization. The 22-year-old would theoretically provide the 76ers with a floor-stretching power forward who can create matchup issues for slower frontcourt players, though it's difficult to see where exactly he'd fit in a big man rotation that already includes Joel Embiid (foot), Jahlil Okafor (knee), and Nerlens Noel.
Saric recently told a Croatian newspaper that he plans on joining the 76ers next summer, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. "In the summer, I will still go [to Philadelphia] because I have a way out in the contract," Saric said. Saric, the 12th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, signed a three-year deal with Turkish club Anadolu Efes shortly a few days before his selection, but his contract apparently contains an opt-out clause that will allow him to pursue his NBA dream when the current season ends. While it may behoove Saric to wait until 2017 to join the Sixers since next season's salary would be tied to the rookie-wage scale, it appears the 21-year-old is willing to forgo the added financial security. Saric is regarded as a smooth-shooting big man with a good handle, but it's unclear how well he'll fit in for the Sixers with Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, and -- when healthy -- Joel Embiid all viewed as long-term assets in the frontcourt.
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