Saric, the 12th pick in 2014, was acquired by the Sixers on draft night with the expectation that he wouldn’t come over right away. The Croatian forward is under contract with Turkey’s Anadolu Efes, and while Philly reportedly tried to negotiate a buyout over the last month, that buyout is too expensive for the youngster to come to the NBA this summer.
Saric could opt out of his current contract and come over next summer, but it makes more sense financially for him to wait until 2017. The 21-year-old will still be bound to the rookie scale if he comes in 2016, but that wouldn’t be the case in 2017, when the cap is expected to soar north of $100 million.
A similar case was that of Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic. The Bulls acquired Mirotic’s draft rights in 2011, but he didn’t come over until this past summer when he finally wasn’t bound by the rookie scale anymore. He signed a deal equivalent to the mid-level exception, but with the cap rising, Saric would likely get an even more lucrative contract if he waits until 2017.