Like many in the Philadelphia area, Bryan Colangelo has heard all the reports about Dario Saric.
A Croatian newspaper reported that Saric, a Croatia native, said he'll play for the 76ers in the 2016-17 season. A European reporter added that the 6-foot-10 forward said the same thing to his teammates on Anadolu Efes of the Turkish Basketball League.
"I don't want to go on hearsay and what might have been said by him or what his friends are telling people he's telling them," said Colangelo, who was named the Sixers' president of basketball operations in April. "I'd rather speak to the individual."
That's why he and Sixers coach Brett Brown are figuring out a time in the next few weeks to fly to Turkey to meet with Saric.
"We'd certainly like for him to come" and join the team next season, Colangelo said. "We think it would be a good time for him given that we are changing gears right now and putting some things together. So we think as far as our planning goes, it would be nice to know."
Saric would benefit more from a financial standpoint if he remained overseas for one more season. However, he would get playing time next season that might not be available if he waits another year.
"You can look at our roster and say there's a nice fit there," Colangelo said. "It looks like a good opportunity for him to come over and start that process. But as it relates to a year from now, I can't project what that will look like based on where we are today."
Saric was drafted by the Orlando Magic with the 12th overall pick in 2014 and immediately traded to the Sixers. However, he signed a three-year contract with the Turkish team in the week leading up to the NBA draft. He can opt out of that contract and join the Sixers this offseason.
Saric would be tied to his rookie-scale deal if plays in the NBA next season. Utah Jazz forward Trey Lyles, who was selected 12th overall in 2015, will make $10.4 million during his four-year rookie contract. Saric will make a little more than that if he comes over this summer. He would be able to negotiate a deal for a much richer salary with the Sixers if he waited until the summer of 2017. A league source said he believes Saric could receive about $6 million a season if he waits until next year.
But by then, the Sixers might add quality power forwards through the draft, trades or free agency.
The Sixers would benefit from signing Saric to a rookie-scale deal. They could use the extra money to help lure free agents.
Saric, 22, has communicated with Colangelo through text messages and has been in contact with Brown and other Sixers staffers. Player-development assistant Chris Babcock spent eight days in Turkey with Saric in March.
But Colangelo and Brown are determined to have a face-to-face meeting with Saric to confirm his future plans.
"I don't want to perpetuate the rumor and innuendo," Colangelo said. " I rather just stop the speculation and go over and discuss things with him and determine whether or not it's feasible for him to come to this year."
Brown will be Sixers' onstage representative at the NBA draft lottery May 17 in New York. The draft is June 23.
"With the situation that we have all been through, [May 17] ends up being a really big night," Brown said. ". . . Just to be a part of it, to represent our city, to represent the Philadelphia 76ers, it's my privilege."
The Sixers secured a 25 percent chance to win the first pick during the draft lottery by finishing with the NBA's worst record, 10-72. They also have a 64.3 percent chance to place in the top three and will finish no lower than fourth.
They will get the Lakers' pick if Los Angeles falls out of the top three and they also have the right to swap first-round picks with Sacramento. So, if the Kings get the first pick, the Sixers will take it.
The Sixers also will get the 24th pick (from Miami) and the 26th pick (from Oklahoma City).