Dario Saric wants to return to the OKC Thunder, but future unclear

Dario Saric #9 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
Dario Saric #9 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder have an interesting decision to make this offseason, as Dario Saric is an impending Free Agent.  The OKC Thunder traded Darius Bazley to the Phoenix Suns at the NBA Trade Deadline in return for the veteran big man and picked up future second-round picks.

The day the trade went down, everyone assumed this was just a move by Sam Presti to acquire more second-round picks down the line while clearing up a roster spot for the 2023 off-season. That line of thinking added up, given their impending roster crunch this off-season.

The OKC Thunder have a decision to make regarding Dario Saric this offseason, but the veteran big man says he wants to stay.

On Saturday, the Oklahoma City Thunder held their annual exit interviews following their last game of the season. During the exit interviews, Dario Saric was the first to take the podium as the Thunder ran through each player, going by order of experience.

Throughout the interview, Saric spoke glowingly about the young Thunder core “I learned how these guys can be in the future… high-quality people” while adding they play team basketball.

That was just one of Dario Saric’s glowing remarks about the team. The veteran big man compared the team to a laptop when asked what makes this organization so special compared to his other stops; “Some laptops are better than other ones. You know what I mean? Sometimes they have the same controls and same things, but some of them are better, and that’s what I would say. It’s really great to be part of this.”

You can see why Saric would wish to stay in Bricktown through all the rave reviews. Though the midseason acquisition did acknowledge this is a business and a lot is up in the air right now: “I mean, I have like a month and a half, two months here. I really like enjoy it. I really like it to be part of this group. I really like it. It’s about situation, how it’s going to be in July, draft picks, other players. It’s really hard. It’s nothing in my control. But what I witness here is like, I really like it. I would like to be back.”

Dario Saric should not command much in Free Agency, especially if he wishes to return to Oklahoma City, so it is hard to imagine he will be priced out of the Thunder’s range. Instead, the issue will be if the team needs the roster spot for a younger player with three incoming draft picks.

While the Thunder have a few non-guaranteed contracts and options, Saric is the lone impending free agent, so his roster spot represents the easiest to move on from when push comes to shove mechanically.

With Oklahoma City, the big man averaged seven points, three rebounds, and an assist and shot 39 percent from beyond the arc.