Here’s a story from The Morning Call that makes a lot of sense and no sense at the same time. Because the Philadelphia 76ers drafted Ben Simmons, it seems that Dario Saric may choose to play a third season in Turkey before coming to the NBA.
A source told The Morning Call that Saric, the 12th pick in the 2014 Draft, wants to stay overseas, so when he comes to the NBA, he won’t be subject to the league’s rookie scale contracts. And while Saric originally said he was ready to come to the 76ers next season, the team taking Simmons, who is also power forward, has deterred him because he doesn’t want to be a backup.
“He makes 1.5 million Euros [$1.66 million U.S.] playing in Turkey,” said the source Thursday night. “It’s a comfortable living. Why come over and risk that and go back to the rookie-scale contract when you’ve completed two-thirds of not having to be on the rookie scale? This is before the draft.”
If the 22-year-old Saric joins the Sixers this year, he’d be due $9 million over the next four seasons based on being the No. 12 overall pick (in the 2014 draft). If he plays a third season in Turkey, he wouldn’t be subject to the rookie scale and would probably make more than twice that amount.
That’s about as logical as it gets, right? Here’s where it gets confusing.
On June 29, Saric told reporters in his native Croatia that he was ready to play in the NBA in 2016-17. Six days earlier, the 76ers drafted Simmons, so it’s not as though Saric wasn’t aware the team selected a player that mans his position. And it’s not as though the NBA’s rules on rookie contracts are new. So what gives?
According to the source in the story, “[Saric’s parents are] counting every dollar because this is their gravy train.”
If Saric’s parents are telling him to stay in Turkey so he gets more NBA money in 2017-18, that’s hard to argue. Money is great. Maybe a trade can be worked out. But it sounds like Saric’s heart isn’t into the NBA like it was a couple weeks ago.