After a quiet opening to free agency that was leaving fans frustrated, the fortunes of the Golden State Warriors appeared to turn on its head with reports on Saturday that the franchise had signed power-forward/center Dario Saric.
The Croatian projects as filling a big need for the Warriors next season, with his offensive blend of shooting and passing sure to be a valuable fit next to the more defensive-minded styles of Draymond Green and Kevon Looney.
Golden State Warriors’ General Manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. has revealed how he and the front office we able to secure Dario Saric in free agency.
Saric was evidently front-and-center of Golden State’s plans heading into free agency, with NBC Sports’ Monte Poole reporting the franchise was likely to sign the 29-year-old even before the window officially opened.
However, those plans appeared to be in jeopardy when Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fisher reported that the Miami Heat had interest in signing Saric, particularly if they were first able to acquire Portland Trail Blazers’ superstar Damian Lillard via trade.
After a nervous eight days where hope among fans was fading, the Warriors finally got their man on Saturday in signing Saric to a one-year, minimum contract. Speaking to reporters on Monday, GM Mike Dunleavy Jr. revealed how the Warriors were eventually able to secure his signature.
"“Yeah we had the intent to sign him…We’ve had a lot of success the last few years signing guys who probably should have made more than the minimum. It took some work, some convincing, but I think we were able to sell our program, our culture, the way we play, and I think Dario saw that vision and we’re really thrilled to have him.”"
The impact he could have on Golden State was clearly a driving force in the agreement between player and franchise, with Saric taking a major pay cut from the three-year, $27 million deal he signed with the Phoenix Suns in November 2020.
Last season was Saric’s first year back from a devastating torn ACL suffered during the 2021 NBA Finals. He made a total of 57 appearances for the Suns and Oklahoma City Thunder, averaging 6.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.