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76ers’ Dario Saric: ‘I don’t want to play against LeBron’

Dario Saric, LeBron James

Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James (23) drives past Philadelphia 76ers’ Dario Saric (9), from Croatia, in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, March 1, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)


The 76ers will end a five-year playoff drought this season.

But Dario Saric is happy just to make the postseason. He has thoughts on Philadelphia’s opponent.

His choice: not LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

Dario Saric, via NBC Sports Philadelphia:

I don’t want to play against LeBron. He’s obviously top-three, top-two, top-three players in world in history, maybe.
Everyone else in the world is welcome to come here.

That’s wild for an opposing player to say publicly.

It’s also common sense.

LeBron has won the East seven straight years. He’s already warning teams he’s gearing up to do it again, even though Cleveland has uncharacteristically struggled in the regular season.

Better players have acknowledged LeBron’s superiority in the playoffs. It’s hard to blame Saric for stating what many of us believe: LeBron is the most difficult obstacle for any Eastern Conference team trying to advance. But if the 76ers and Cavs actually face each other, Saric will have to answer for these comments.

A theory I don’t quite believe but want to share: Maybe Saric doesn’t fear playing LeBron, but just wants to avoid a heated playoff series that reduces LeBron’s love for Philadelphia and therefore the odds he signs with the 76ers.