A highly anticipated 76ers rookie is making an odd financial sacrifice to join the team, and it's turning into a bargain

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Things are starting to look up for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Among their latest bout of good fortune is the arrival of much-anticipated rookie Dario Saric, whom the 76ers traded for after he was taken with the 12th pick in the 2014 draft.

Saric, a 22-year-old Croatian forward, arrived in Philadelphia on Thursday with reports that he intends to sign with the team on Friday.

For the 76ers, getting Saric to sign this year is a huge bargain — and potentially a financial misstep for Saric, though one he is likely aware of.

As Bryan Toporek of Hardwood Paroxysm explains, Saric has one year remaining on his deal with his Turkish club, Anadolu Efes. There is a $1 million buyout fee, of which the 76ers can pay only $650,000. That means that Saric will pick up the remaining $350,000 on his own check, something that he said he's glad to do to join the team, according to Keith Pompey of Philly.com.

SEE ALSO: Nate Thurmond, a dominant NBA center over 15 seasons, dies at 74

Getting Saric now is a steal for the Sixers because of the contract he has to sign. According to Toporek, a team can sign a player to the terms of a rookie scale only within three years of drafting him. With Saric coming to the NBA two years after being drafted, he is still eligible for the rookie scale, meaning that he will be paid about $10.7 million over three years.

Had Saric waited one more season to come to the NBA, he could have signed a much bigger contract. As Toporek states, if a team doesn't sign a player they drafted within three seasons, the player can negotiate a contract as if he were a regular free agent. Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic did this two years ago, as he waited three years before joining the Bulls, then signed a three-year, $16 million contract. With a rising salary cap leading to massive salaries across the NBA, it's likely that Saric could have negotiated a much bigger contract than the $10.7 million he'll make over three years.

However, it may be a calculated move by Saric, too. As Toporek notes, an uncertain future lingers over the NBA as both the league and the players union can opt out of the CBA this December, which could potentially lead to a lockout. With new negotiations and possibly a new CBA, the terms for signing a drafted player could change. Saric may have opted for the certainty of a contract now, rather than waiting it out, only to see a potential lockout or new terms for signing a draft pick.

Nonetheless, it's a dose of luck for the 76ers. A prized draft pick who they've been waiting for is not only paying for part of his own buyout, he's joining the team under a fairly long, team-friendly rookie contract.

Ranking the biggest NBA Draft busts

Biggest NBA Draft Busts
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Biggest NBA Draft Busts

25. Anthony Bennett

We're trying to hold judgement given he's still just 22 years old, but it's not looking too bright for former No. 1 overall pick, Anthony Bennett. The Cavaliers dealt him to Minnesota in the Kevin Love trade, and after averaging five points per game over 57 contests last season, the forward is on the trading block again. It's unfortunate that Cleveland selected him in a position he had no business going, and ruining his mental stability in the process.


24. Derrick Williams

Thought of in the same breath as Kyrie Irving during the months leading up to the 2011 draft, Derrick Williams eventually got scooped up at No. 2 by the Minnesota Timberwolves. The freakishly athletic forward has never been able to make his talent translate to the pro game after dominating at Arizona. He's on his second NBA team, averaging nine points over his first four years.


23. Robert Traylor

A sixth-overall selection, Robert "Tractor" Traylor never amounted to the star Milwaukee drafted him to be. He spent just a pair of seasons with the Bucks, averaging 4.5 points in 13 minutes before moving on to the Cavaliers and Hornets. One of the league's most imposing figures averaged five points over his seven pro seasons. 


22. Jared Jeffries

"Mr. Basketball" in Indiana during his high school days, Jared Jeffries was the 11th overall pick in the 2002 draft by the Wizards. He actually managed to bust twice, averaging just six points and five rebounds with the Wizards, then garnering a five-year, $30 million deal from the Knicks -- where he posted even lesser numbers.


21. Joe Smith

And to think the Timberwolves went out of their way to sign this guy to an illegal contract. The 1995 No. 1 pick got off to a fine start over this first three year swith the Warriors, but it was all down hill from there. Joe Smith spent 16 years in the league with 13 different teams, averaging 11 points and six rebounds. Not bad, but for a first-overall pick, not good.


20. Stromile Swift

The Stro Show' was supposed to the next dynamic, super-athletic big man. Instead, he posted 4.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in his rookie campaign for the putrid Grizzlies and never really got much better over his career.


19. Evan Turner

Considered a LeBron-esque all-way talent out of college, Evan Turner has been diminished to a role player on a rebuilding Celtics team in just his fifth season. He's shot under 43 percent for his career, translating to 10.8 points and 5.2 rebounds. He has a place on an NBA bench, but for a second-overall pick selected over Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins? Not good enough.


18. Michael Sweetney

Even in the famed 2003 draft class, the Knicks still managed to disappoint with their ninth-overall selection of Georgetown big man Mike Sweetney. Listed at 275 pounds as a rookie, Sweetney ballooned to 450 by the twilight of his NBA days with the Celtics. In two years with the Knicks, he averaged seven points and five rebounds.


17. Andrea Bargnani

The hype surrounding Andrea Bargnani made sense leading up to the 2006 draft. Topping seven feet in height and with a supposedly lethal jumpshot, it's no wonder the Raptors were so interested. But aside from the 2010-11 season when he averaged over 21 points per game, Bargs has done a great job at making himself a walking punchline.


16. Darius Miles

One of the more hyped prospects of recent generations, it's a shame Darius Miles was never able to produce the way many expected him to out of high school. The third pick in 2000, Miles played significant minutes for the Clippers as a bench player for two years, before being shipped to the Cavaliers. Poor play and injury ruined his potential, and he wound up missing two seasons with a knee injury before attempting a comeback, at 27, with the Grizzlies in 2009. After 34 games, averaging less than nine minutes a night, D-Miles was out of the league for good.


15. Eddy Curry

The fourth overall pick in the 2001 draft, Eddy Curry's production never quite matched his expectations. His best year came in 2006-07, when Knicks head coach Isiah Thomas force-fed the rotund center to the tune of 1,016 shot attempts that season. Now 32, Curry hasn't seen NBA hardwood since the first two games of the 2012-13 season for the Dallas Mavericks.


14. Jonathan Bender

Fifteen years ago Jonathan Bender was basketball’s hottest prospect, a 6-11, 202-pound athletic freak -- kind of like that guy Kevin Durant -- who was supposed to become the Pacers' franchise player. Instead, he retired due to injuries by his sixth season -- and now is a successful inventor.


13. Robert Swift

One of the more troubling stories in draft bust lore is found in Robert Swift, who was drafted 12th overall by the Seattle SuperSonics in 2004. The 7-footer averaged four points over his five seasons with the Sonics and Thunder, but the real disappointment has come after his playing career


12. Jonny Flynn

The second of three point guards not named Stephen Curry selected by Minnesota in 2009, Jonny Flynn was taken with the sixth overall pick. Flynn held down the point guard position in Minnesota during the late 2000s, and it didn't go as planned. The Syracuse product actually performed so-so in his rookie year, when he started 81 games, but tailed off dramatically after. He's been out of the league since 2012. 


11. Joe Alexander

Going eighth overall in 2008 out of West Virginia, Joe Alexander showed us one of the most swift exits from the NBA ever. After a sub-par rookie season in Milwaukee, he was shipped out to the Bulls, where he eight games in 2009-10 before falling out of the league all together.


10. Kwame Brown

One of the go-to names when you think "draft bust," Kawme Brown famously flopped as Michael Jordan's first impact move as Wizards head honcho in 2001. Brown was never able to live up to the first-overall hype, but he managed to piece together a relatively respectable 12-year NBA career.


9. LaRue Martin

As for as No. 1 picks go, it doesn't get much more disappointing than LaRue Martin. The center flamed out of the league after four seasons, averaging more than five points in just one of those campaigns. Blazers gonna Blazer.


8. Michael Olowokandi

The 'Kandi Man' was supposed to be the next great 7-footer to dominate in the Western Conference. But the rest of the NBA dominated him. He averaged 8.3 points and 6.8 rebounds over his career with the Clippers, Wolves and Celtics -- and made over $37 million!


7. Kent Benson

Another first overall pick, Kent Benson was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks before anyone else in the 1977 draft. After two-and-a-half seasons of averaging single-digit points, he was shipped out of town, and topped out as a role player until 1988.


6. Hasheem Thabeet

After dominting the paint at UConn, Hasheem Thabeet's massive length figured to translate well to the NBA. He was selected second in 2009 by the Memphis Grizzlies -- right after Blake Griffin and just before James Harden. Last we saw of Thabeet, he was the last man on Oklahoma City's bench in 2013-14. He averaged 2.2 points over his five NBA years.


5. Nikoloz Tskitishvili

Try to spell his name without looking. It's impossible. It's also impossible to leave him out of any NBA bust lists. 


4. Adam Morrison

The mustached man out of Gonzaga lasted just four years in the pros before falling out of the league, averaging just 11.5 minutes per game after his rookie season. But the 6'8" forward is a two-time NBA champion, watching from the bench as his Lakers teams won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.


3. Greg Oden

For most fan bases, this would be as bad as it gets. Unfortunately for the Blazers, selecing Greg Oden over Kevin Durant in 2007 wasn't the worst draft decision in team history. It was still franchise crippling, as Oden played in just 82 games over five years for Portland.


2. Sam Bowie

With Michael Jordan still on the board in 1984, Portland selected then-promising big man Sam Bowie with the second overall pick. Battling injuries, he played in just 139 games over five years, posting 10.5 points and 8.1 rebounds over his Blazers tenure. He spent more than a decade in the league as a serviceable role player, but will rest in basketball lore as one of the biggest busts in sports history -- thanks to MJ.


1. Darko Milicic

Reaffirming every NBA team's fear of drafting relatively unknown European players, Darko Milicic was famously selected second overall in 2003 by Detroit. Just after LeBron James, and right before Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He'd last just two-plus seasons there, leaving Pistons fans wondering how much successful their already-great teams of the mid-2000s could've been.



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