Dario Saric unsure of future with Suns, focused on giving ‘100% no matter what’

Jan 27, 2023, 6:50 PM

Dario Saric #20 of the Phoenix Suns checks into a preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers in ...

Dario Saric #20 of the Phoenix Suns checks into a preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second quarter at T-Mobile Arena on October 05, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Suns defeated the Lakers 119-115. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

It’s been an up-and-down tenure for Phoenix Suns big man Dario Saric, who is in the midst of his fourth season in the Valley.

Despite all the injuries the Suns have had to deal with in 2022-23, Saric ranks 13th on the team in total minutes played (418), which only bests guard Duane Washington Jr. (394), forward Cam Johnson (304) and guard Saben Lee (151).

“For me, of course I want to play more minutes,” Saric told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Friday of his future in Phoenix with the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 9.

“I’m that kind of a guy. I’m a hooper. I want to be out there on the court playing every night, every game if possible if I’m not injured. It’s hard to say. It’s a hard question for me right now to answer, but I’ll always try to give 100% no matter what.”

The Croatian, who signed a three-year, $27 million contract with Phoenix in 2020, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer at the age of 29.

“I don’t know. It’s a hard question for me right now in this situation,” Saric said. “I try to do my best on the floor every night. I’ve stayed here for four beautiful years. I’ve gone from the young guy to become a man in some ways. I played in the NBA Finals, even if only for a few seconds.

“I’m pretty confident about the Suns. This is our job. I don’t know what’s going to happen. This is how we live if you’re not a superstar or something like that.”

After starting in 51 of 66 games in both his and head coach Monty Williams’ first seasons in Phoenix in 2019-20, Saric only started four of 50 games the following year.

The big man averaged 8.7 points on 44.7% shooting in addition to 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 17.4 minutes per contest during the regular season, but saw his usage shrink during the playoffs.

During the Suns’ postseason run, Saric played 14 games (no starts) and only featured for 10.5 minutes per matchup while averaging 4.5 points on a 46.7% clip from the floor to go along with 2.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists.

Unfortunately for the 6-foot-10, 225-pound big, he suffered a torn ACL 2:24 into his NBA Finals debut — a 118-105 Game 1 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

The injury forced the No. 12 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft to miss all of last season.

This year, Saric has started in 11 of 31 appearances and is averaging 5.5 points on 44% shooting in addition to 3.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 13.5 minutes per game.

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