The Philadelphia 76ers (unfortunately) can’t trade for Dario Saric

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

While it would be nice to get Dario Saric back home in a Philadelphia 76ers jersey, a longstanding NBA rule makes that all but impossible this season.

Boy, watching Dario Saric don a white, and purple number 36 jersey was weird.

Chalk it up to being an OG Processor, but after waiting years, literally for The Homie to make his way to the City of Brotherly Love in 2016, it just feels odd to see him in anything but a Philadelphia 76ers jersey.

And if Twitter’s response is of any indication, it’s safe to say I am not alone.

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Scores of fans around the world reminisced about their fondest memories from Ši Ši’s time in Philly, with some going so far as to suggest the Sixers make an offer to bring The Homie home.

Super Dario brings three things to the table that the Sixers desperately need: scoring, auxiliary playmaking, and four-five flexibility. His 11.1 points per game average still ranks sixth on the team behind Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler, J.J. Redick, Ben Simmons, and his current teammate Robert Covington, 3.1 points higher the team’s best bench scorer Landry Shamet.

Furthermore, Saric’s return could also transition Wilson Chandler into his more natural role as a reserve small forward, providing defensive flexibility off the bench as opposed to disappointing as an underutilized starting swing forward ranking 12th in scoring on the team.

Too bad it can’t happen.

While Embiid, T.J. McConnell, and the overwhelming majority of the Wells Fargo Center’s Tuesday night sell out crowd would love to bring Saric back in time for a playoff berth, a long-standing NBA rule blocks such a move.

According to the NBA’s current CBA (which can be downloaded here), as simplified here by Hoops Rumors, a team cannot re-acquire a traded player, either by another trade, the waiver wire, or free agency in the same season. That means no matter how you slice it, Saric and his 11.1 points and 6.6 rebounds in 30.5 minutes of action a night can’t be reacquired until July 1st when the 2019-20 NBA calendar year begins.

Could Elton Brand and company go after Saric once he hits free agency? Sure, but that won’t happen until 2020 when he becomes eligible for restricted free agency.

No, if the 76ers eventually come around to what fans already know; that they made a mistake and want to ‘Trust the Friendship’s once more, their best bet is to trade for the Croatian forward in six months when the CBA exception expires.

Will doing so cost an assist? Undoubtedly, but based on how Saric has been utilized so far by the Minnesota Timberwolves this season, averaging only 23 minutes of action a night under both Tom Thibodeau and Ryan Saunders, a deal appears incredibly viable.

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So Dario, even though you can’t come back to Philly this season, don’t think you’ve been forgotten in the City of Brotherly Love. While Homie don’t play much in Minnesota, you will forever be remembered as one of the few bright spots in Philadelphia’s basketball dark ages, and that should make Sam Hinkie proud. Until we meet again my friend, Trust the Process.