It's official: The Sixers on Friday signed forward Dario Saric.
“I feel so excited and so happy because I have a chance to show my game here in Philly,” Saric said to Comcast SportsNet’s Amy Fadool in an exclusive interview Friday before being introduced to the media.
Saric's contract falls under the 2016 rookie wage scale even though he was drafted two years ago. His salary will be the same as this year's 12th overall pick's, Atlanta's Taurean Prince, according to Bobby Marks of The Vertical. According to international basketball reporter David Pick, the buyout for Saric's overseas contract — which had one year remaining — was $1.1 million. Per the CBA, the Sixers can pay up to $650,000 of it while Saric must pay the rest.
The arrival of Saric, 22, had been anticipated since the Sixers traded for him on draft night in 2014. He spent the last two seasons with Anadolu Efes of the Turkish Basketball Super League, averaging 11.0 points and 6.0 rebounds this past season.
“We are thrilled to finally announce the highly anticipated signing of Dario Saric to an NBA player contract with the Philadelphia 76ers,” Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said in a statement. “Our basketball team stands to benefit from both the on-court development and physical maturation of Dario as a professional player in Croatia and Turkey over the last few years.”
Saric had plenty of reasons for joining the Sixers now, not after the 2016-17 season.
"One of the biggest reasons because I promised when we had a meeting after a draft that I'd come after two years," Saric said. "Another reason, I wanted to play against the best players in the best league in the world to show what I can do.
"And the third because I think I'm mentally ready, I think I've improved my game enough to come here and play the best players in the world."
Saric was modest when asked to describe his game.
"I hate to talk about myself, it's always weird, things like that, but I think I can do lot of things good," the 6-foot-10 forward said. "I think I can shoot pretty good, I think I can dribble the ball for my size very good, I think some players bigger than me and slower than me, I think I can attack [them]. But for somebody smaller than me, I think I can post him up. Like some kind of all-around player."
Saric was the MVP of the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which ended last week. He had 18 points, 13 rebounds, two assists in two steals in Croatia's six-point, overtime win over Italy.
"I first saw Dario when he was probably 17 or 18 years old and I can't tell you how far he's come as a player," Colangelo said. "Physically, he's also come a long way — but his game has just really advanced to a level that we're all excited to see how it's going to fit and translate at this level.
"But also, just as a young man, you're talking about a mature young man at 22, who has been through a lot, who's played years of professional basketball — that's going to bode well for him in terms of his transition.”