All eyes will be on No. 1 pick Ben Simmons when the Philadelphia 76ers’ season kicks off this fall, but he’s not the only highly touted rookie they’re getting. Dario Saric, the No. 12 overall pick in the 2014 draft, is finally coming over to the NBA after two years, assuming they can get his buyout worked out with the Turkish club Anadolu Efes.
The Croatian forward told reporters that he plans to sign with the Sixers for next season:
As exciting as it is for Sixers fans that they’re finally going to see what they have in Saric, who won MVP of the Adriatic League in 2014, it would have been smarter of him to wait a year. If an international player comes over to the NBA two years or less after he’s drafted in the first round (like Ricky Rubio did, joining the Timberwolves in 2011 after being drafted in 2009), he’s bound by the rookie scale, meaning he’s slated to make approximately $2.3 million next season as the No. 12 pick.
If he had waited one more year, he would no longer be subject to the rookie scale and could negotiate any deal he wanted with the Sixers. Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic came over in 2014 after being drafted in 2011 and signed a three-year deal starting at upwards of $5 million annually. Saric could have commanded a similar deal by waiting a year.
But he seems set on coming over now, and the Sixers are going to benefit from it, both on the court and financially.