Two years after he was drafted, Dario Šarić is finally going to play in the NBA, completing his contract signing with the Philadelphia 76ers, who seem to be finally heading out of the league’s basement, but have an overload of big men which causes other problems and questions.
Šarić, 22, was expected to remain one more year in Europe for financial reasons. By signing with the Sixers within three years of being picked in the draft, he gets to play for the rookie scale contract, which means $2.3 million this season, and a total of $10.7 million over the lifetime of his deal. Staying one more year in Europe would have meant less money (was playing for $1.2 million a season in Turkey) in 2016-2017, but he could have compensated for it once he came to the NBA. The buyout from Anadolu Efes was for $800,000, with the Sixers paying around $650,000 of it.
Šarić, a 6’10 power forward from Sibenik in Croatia, caught everyone’s attention while starring for Cibona Zagreb in 2013 and 2014, winning two FIBA European Young Player of the Year awards. He was drafted 12th overall by the Orlando Magic in 2014, but was immediately traded to the Sixers for Elfrid Payton. He decided to stay at least two more years in Europe and play for Anadolu Efes.
He has two Euroleague (the premier basketball competition in Europe) seasons with Efes, averaging 9.9 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in 2014-2015, followed by a much better campaign despite playing less minutes, averaging 11.7 points and 5.8 rebounds, while shooting an impressive 40.3% from beyond the arc.
Šarić joins a frontcourt that includes Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel. The Sixers have mentioned that they might break up this group because of having too many PFs and centers, but won’t be making a deal for the sake of making one, only for a good offer. Meanwhile, they have what they believe are three players (Šarić, Simmons, Embiid) who can win the rookie of the year award in 2017.