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Notebook: Dario Saric And Ron Adams Out, More

As the draft approaches, more and more mock drafts were listing Croatian point-forward Dario Saric in the lottery, well before Boston’s 17th pick.

That no longer seems to be the case. Chad Ford released a report that Saric has agreed in principle to a deal with a Turkish club that would keep him out of the NBA for at least two years.

From Ford’s report:

The deal will have a player option for year three. Saric is expected to receive and sign a contract in the next 24 hours.

The move will essentially prohibit Saric from playing in the NBA for a minimum of two years, the source added.


However, it’s possible that Saric won’t slide too far. Sources say the Hawks at 15, the Celtics at 17, the Suns at 18 and the Bulls at 19 are all looking at Saric and are more comfortable drafting him and keeping him in Europe for the next two seasons. The Celtics, Suns and Bulls all have multiple picks in this year’s draft.

To jog your memory: Saric is very, very good. He’s 6’10, but he’s fluid like a guard driving to the basket and pushing in transition. His shot has shown improvements over the past year, especially from 3-point range, and he’s already a stellar distributor and ball-handler. What he lacks in pure athleticism and length he makes up for with agility, at least on offense, and he’s easily the most intriguing European player in this year’s draft. He likely cost himself some NBA money, since he would have gone in the lottery if teams thought he would play for an NBA team next year, but he can make up some of that in Turkey.

For Saric’s many supporters among Celtics fans, Ford’s report is both good news and bad news. The bad news is obvious: If Boston picks him with the 17th pick (there’s no way they take him at six), he won’t play in the NBA for at least two years. Two guaranteed years (and possibly a third, if he exercises his player option) is a long time to wait for a pick to pay off, even for a rebuilding team.

The good(ish) news is also fairly obvious: Saric is too talented to drop to 17th without some complications. But there are few teams before the 17th pick willing to draft and stash Saric, with (as Ford mentioned) the possible exception of the Hawks. Most teams either want a safer pick or immediate help, and Saric offers neither. The Celtics have an earlier pick for some immediate help, and they won’t be good next year. They can afford to wait.

Originally, I wondered if this was posturing on Saric’s part, since he reportedly wants to be drafted by either the Celtics or the Lakers. Knowing that neither team was likely to take him at six or seven, perhaps he was pushing to be drafted by Boston at 17? While Ford’s report that the contract will be signed in the next 24 hours put a stop to that particular line of thinking, Saric’s pre-draft wishes might still be relevant: If his contract with Anadolu Efes (the Turkish team) does — as reported — have a player option after two years, it’s likely he would agree to come over and join Boston rather than picking up his option and staying in Turkey.

This raises a depressing possibility: If Joel Embiid slides, the Celtics could draft both Embiid and Saric and have neither active at the start of the 2014-15 season, but blehhh. Let’s leave that alone for now.

Assistant Coach Ron Adams Is Gone

Formers Bulls assistant coach Ron Adams has departed from Boston after one year to coach the Golden State Warriors. The rich get richer.

From Brad Stevens, via Celtics PR:

“I am very happy for Ron for him to have this opportunity to coach in his home-state.  We all wish Ron nothing but the best, and appreciate all that he did during his year in Boston.”

This is a loss for the Celtics. Not a Tom-Thibodeau-to-the-Bulls loss, but a loss nonetheless. Adams is a talented assistant coach known for being a shot doctor. With a potential Aaron-Gordon-and-his-broken-free-throws pick looming on Thursday, Adams would have been an excellent assistant to have on staff.

But as Stevens noted in his comment, Adams is from California, and he isn’t particularly young. The Warriors can win immediately, and Adams’ career is likely nearing its end. Players aren’t the only NBA people who want to chase a ring.

Also worth noting: Steph Curry plus a shooting doctor might actually break Basketball-Reference.com.

Building A Champion

The Boston Globe has a fascinating graphic on how every championship team in the past 10 years built its squad, whether via trade, draft or free agency. In 2008, the Celtics had six players on the roster acquired via the draft, four via free agency and two via trade.

After last season, Thursday’s draft night feels like a make-or-break scenario for the franchise. This is a nice reminder that it isn’t. Championship teams are built in a variety of ways. The draft can’t fix the Celtics; it can only be a piece of the puzzle.

Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.

  • hax

    How many non-all star 6’9/6’10 guys do we need?
    This guy compares easily to Bargnani/Gallinari

    • Ping

      You mean how many ultra-skilled players do we need? As many as possible.

      Saric doesn’t compare AT ALL to Bargnani and is a better prospect than Gallo ever was.

      Quite frankly, in the event a Kevin Love trade doesn’t get done, Chad Ford’s latest mock result is absolutely amazing for Boston. Assuming the draft goes to Ford’s plans, the Celtics would nab two of the 5 or 6 best players in the draft, including the consensus #1 in Embiid if he was healthy.

      I’ll gladly wait one season and gamble on Embiid/Saric. Their upside is enormous.

      • hax

        If we get Emiid and Saric, it’ll be a good draft.
        2 years in Europe though, kind of bleh. Bulls will take him first,

        • Ping

          What exactly would you propose they do? Take players that have already hit their ceiling?

          If DA can’t turn this team around into a near-contender with Love or someone similar, they need to build. Everyone and their mother moans about making the playoffs as a 7 or 8 seed. The only way you break out of that trend is by accumulating top-tier players.

          Embiid and Saric have as good a chance, if not better, as anyone to become stars that anchor a legitimate contender for several years. I’ll stash Saric for one or two years and gamble on Embiid’s health (which neither you nor I know anything about) if it means a better shot at contention.

        • Ben

          Good riddens to Green. He was a terrible signing in the first place. If we aren’t getting Love, and we can deal them both for value, then I say do it. They are part of the Reason we didn’t have a higher pick this year to begin with

  • Eisenhorn1976

    So this guy is Kukoc 2.0? Except Toni was already a pretty decent 3-point shooter coming into the NBA.

  • dasein

    Why wouldn’t he hold of on signing till he finds out who drafts him? It’s not like fenerbache or whoever is going to want him less in 3 days time.

    Either way, I’d be good with embiid and saric if we can’t get love.