NBA Trade Rumors: Dario Saric Could Be Available for 1st-Round Pick and Player

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 15: Dario Saric #36 of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks on against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on January 15, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Dario Saric's short time with the Minnesota Timberwolves could be coming to an end.

Sean Deveney of Sporting News reported Tuesday that Saric is available for the right price:

"Saric could find himself on the trade block by Thursday. The Wolves likely would prefer to wait until the offseason to make a trade involving what was supposed to be the most valuable piece they got in return for [Jimmy] Butler, but according to one league executive, 'He could be had for a decent offer, a first-rounder and a player.'"

As Deveney noted, Saric has fallen out of favor in Minnesota under new head coach Ryan Saunders, averaging just 5.6 points per game in 20.6 minutes of action over his last 11 contests. Under Tom Thibodeau, he offered 10.3 points in 23.3 minutes per game, while in Philadelphia this season he averaged 11.1 points and 6.6 rebounds in 30.5 minutes.

Saric, 24, is a solid stretch-4 who can score on all three levels and has underrated playmaking ability for a big man. While he can be a defensive liability against more athletic teams given his lack of lateral quickness, Saric is still capable of being a contributor for a contender.

He's also on a reasonable contract and is due to make $3.5 million next season before he can become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2020.

Giving up on Saric after half a season may be hasty, however, since he was one of the key pieces in the Jimmy Butler deal alongside defensive savant Robert Covington. Given that's had little time to find his role under Saunders, the Timberwolves might want to preach patience.

If Saric continues to flounder, moving him in the summer is always a possibility. But he showed real upside during his time in Philadelphia and came up big in several playoff games. The Timberwolves would be wise to see if they can tap into that potential as well.

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