Dario Saric isn't coming to the NBA just yet. The Croatian forward, seen as one of the most versatile and skilled players in this year's draft, has agreed to a deal with Anadolu Efes that will "essentially prohibit Saric from playing in the NBA for a minimum of two years," according to ESPN's Chad Ford:
Saric was widely considered a top-10 prospect by the majority of teams in the NBA. He averaged 19.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game for Cibona in the Adriatic League this year.
NBA sources say that Saric's decision to stay in Europe will affect his draft stock. He was getting looks as high as the 76ers at 10, the Nuggets at 11 and the Magic at 12. However, because he's unlikely to come to the NBA for at least two years, those teams are now hesitating to draft him that high.
However, it's possible that Saric won't slide too far. Sources say the Hawks at 15, theCeltics at 17, the Suns at 18 and the Bulls at 19 are all looking at Saric and are more comfortable drafting him and keeping him in Europe for the next two seasons. The Celtics, Suns and Bulls all have multiple picks in this year's draft.
Saric is only 20 years old, and there were rumors that he might pull out of the draft. He decided to stay in, and was invited to the green room, per DraftExpress' Jonathan Givony, but now teams looking at him will have to think long-term.
The three-year deal, which has a player option on the final season, according to ESPN, will be signed in the next 24 hours. This is obviously disappointing for those teams that wanted to bring Saric over now, this news means he could end up being a huge steal.
He's one of the most talented players available, and you'd think a team like Philadelphia would still give him some thought. If the Sixers aren't expecting to be competitive in two years, should this make that much of a difference? Several other teams will surely be weighing the pros and cons of selecting Saric in between now and Thursday.