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This is another interesting chapter in the Saric story. His decision to sign this multi-year deal in Turkey was questionable to begin with as he was getting serious interest from teams drafting in the top 10. However, when Saric agreed to a contract that didn’t have a NBA out for two years, the long-term minded Philadelphia 76ers became the only team in the lottery willing to make the investment.
According to sources with knowledge of the situation, the 76ers were actually hopeful prior to this revelation that Saric could get out of his deal early, although the 2015-16 season was thought to be the earliest it could happen. Things can be kind of unpredictable like that when it comes to overseas contracts, though. If Saric were able to get out of his deal, the 76ers could sign him immediately as they did not waive his cap hold this year despite his desire to stay overseas. They had the option of waiving the hold, but as far underneath the cap as they are, they need every dollar against it. This could be an unexpected benefit of needing those rights to tie up that money.
Saric said prior to the draft that his decision to stay overseas for another two years was solely about development and being as ready as he could be for his eventual NBA debut. He had a lot of hype built up after winning the MVP in the Adriatic League, but still felt like he was a ways away from being NBA ready.
If playing time is what he’s searching for right now, the 76ers certainly could offer that. Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely that his club is going to settle letting him out of his deal for the $600,000 that an NBA team can contribute to a contract buyout. He may just have to ride it out. But, if his camp can make enough noise to get him out of his deal, there’s a route that could lead him to the NBA immediately.
This has become the norm for Steve Nash during his stint with the Los Angeles Lakers. He suffered a broken leg in his first couple of games with the franchise and hasn’t been able to get right physically since. Early on in training camp there was a lot of talk about how good Steve Nash looked. He even started a point guard at the beginning of the preseason, but minutes into the Lakers’ last game against the Golden State Warriors, in the midst of getting absolutely scorched by them early on, Nash told Byron Scott he couldn’t go anymore midway through the first half.
The Lakers acquired Jeremy Lin from the Houston Rockets this offseason as insurance in the case of a Nash injury, which they’ve grown very cautious of now that he’s 40 years old and likely playing for the final time in his career. Scott has already said that he’s contemplating moving Nash to the bench and Lin to the starting lineup, a move that he may not have much of a choice with if Nash cannot stay healthy again.
This is where the battle for the Lakers’ final roster spot could be determined. If Nash looks like he’s going to be unreliable again this offseason, then the Lakers could be inclined to keep Ronnie Price as a backup point guard option as opposed to Wayne Ellington, Jeremy Tyler and Roscoe Smith.
There was some NBA interest in Billups this offseason, specifically from the Cleveland Cavaliers after they traded Jarrett Jack, a necessary move in order to make room for LeBron James. However, after suffering a torn Achilles late in his career, Billups was ready to make the transition into the next stage of his career.
Billups has always been viewed as a natural leader with a great understanding of the game. Those close to him, though, also raved about his personality and ability to connect with his teammates. That should translate into the analyst booth, where he’ll be able to showcase both his personality and immense knowledge of the game.
Don’t expect Billups to be in the booth for long. He’s the kind of guy who could find himself on an NBA sideline as a coach or front office as an executive sooner rather than later, if he desires.
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