LAS VEGAS — The wait will be over this week.
Dario Saric will sign with the Sixers on Friday, according to a source.
The Sixers acquired Saric two years ago on draft night in a trade with the Orlando Magic, who selected him 12th overall. Since then, the 22-year-old forward from Croatia has been playing for Anadolu Efes in Istanbul.
According to international basketball reporter David Pick, the buyout for Saric's current overseas contract — which had one year remaining — is $1.1 million. Per the CBA, the Sixers can pay up to $650,000 of it while Saric must pay the rest.
There had been uncertainty as to when Saric would join the Sixers. Given the NBA's rookie salary scale, there are financial benefits for Saric to remain overseas for another year. But following the Olympic Qualifiers last weekend, he told reporters he intended to play in Philadelphia next season.
The Sixers have been in communication with Saric while he's played in Europe. Head coach Brett Brown has been corresponding with him using WhatsApp. This past season, player development assistant Chris Babcock went to Istanbul for over a week to spend time with Saric and monitor his workouts. In June, Brown and president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo also traveled to Istanbul to visit Saric.
“We think this is good timing for him,” Colangelo said on The Comcast Network's Breakfast on Broad in May.
Saric averaged 11.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 24 Euroleague games this season. He shot 50 percent from the floor and 40.3 percent from three. Last weekend, he posted an 18-point, 13-rebound double-double in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament title game and was named tourney MVP.
"For those who haven't seen him play, there will be a real excitement of how versatile he is," Brown said Tuesday on NBATV's broadcast of the Sixers’ summer league game. "There is a toughness that the city of Philadelphia is just going to fall in love with. He's a bull-in-a-china-shop type player. He can rebound, lead a break, he can hit threes — that's the thing I think I'm most excited about watching the growth of his game. He just comes with a real versatility and skill package at 6-foot-10, similar to Ben (Simmons) in some ways."
Brown has said he envisions Saric playing the "three-four." The Sixers are loaded with bigs and Saric could fit into the three-spot with the current roster. They already have first overall pick Simmons, Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, Jerami Grant and Richaun Holmes in the frontcourt. Joel Embiid is expected to play this season, as well.
“If you want a guy that gives 100 percent every time, he’s such a hard worker and he wants to play on both ends of the floor,” Saric's former teammate Stephane Lasme told CSNPhilly.com at Las Vegas summer league. “He wants to play hard on defense, so hard on offense, and he tries to get every rebound.”