With Dario Saric's season in Turkey ending this past Friday, speculation can now end about the chance of the point forward moving stateside and playing in the NBA in the 2015-16 season, as ESPN's Chad Ford reported this morning that Saric's agent, Jeff Schwartz, confirmed that the Croatian native would not be playing for the 76ers this year.
When the team drafted Saric one year ago this week, knowing he had signed a contract with Anadolu Efes in Turkey beforehand, it seemed unlikely that anyone would see Saric in a Sixers jersey until 2016 at the earliest. Sam Hinkie consistently downplayed the possibility of Saric coming over after just one season in the Turkish Basketball League, as his contract doesn't have an opt-out clause until next summer.
When word broke earlier this month that the Sixers were attempting to orchestrate a buyout with Saric and his Turkish club, it didn't seem too likely that one would be agreed upon, as the financial aspects of both his current contract and the NBA's CBA presented too many obstacles for such a move to happen. As I wrote when that report occurred, there's a greater likelihood of Saric waiting until 2017 to come to the world's top basketball league as opposed to 2016 because of the increasing salary cap and the limitations of rookie-scale contracts:
The reasoning that 2017 is more likely of a target date for Saric to be in Philly than 2016 is that it would then be three years since Saric was drafted, freeing him from the rookie-scale contract he'd otherwise be bound to. This is what led Bulls rookie Nikola Mirotic to wait until the 2014-15 season to come stateside after being selected with the 23rd pick in the 2011 draft. Mirotic went from making a maximum of $1,204,560 if he were to have come over in 2013 to $5,305,000 this season in the first year of a three-year deal worth up to $16,600,000.
Saric's contract in 2017 would likely be more than that when taking into consideration the expected changes in the cap between 2014 and 2017, as well as the Sixers' likelihood of having cap space when the 2017 offseason comes around.
With Saric staying in Turkey probably for another two seasons, expect more EuroWatch articles from me in the meantime, provided I don't run out of patience and flee to Istanbul by then.