Sixers' Dario Saric on Orlando Magic's interest: 'They trade me. That's life.'

032017_saric-magic_1200
Philadelphia 76ers' Dario Saric (9) drives around Orlando Magic's Aaron Gordon during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, March 20, 2017, in Orlando, Fla.

The 76ers have no intention of trading Dario Saric. The Orlando Magic’s plan for Aaron Gordon could be a different story.

The Magic created a bit of stir Monday when they posted a picture of Argentina’s Patricio Garino signing a contract to finish the season with the team. In the photo, Garino is sitting in front of a whiteboard with names that are apparently on the Magic’s summer wish list of players who might be obtained by trade or free agency.

Under the heading “Hybrid Trade,” names were listed, including Saric’s. Next to Saric’s name was written “(For AG?)” One possibility is that AG stands for Aaron Gordon, the Magic power forward.

A league source said Tuesday that the Sixers have not discussed Saric with the Magic or any other NBA team since he emerged this season as one of the team’s top players.

“It’s OK,” Saric said after seeing a photo of the whiteboard. “Every team [has] got rights to think about their future, to put it on board. But to comment, I don’t have something. It’s OK. To me, you are doing good if they have you on [their] mind, like an option.”

The irony is that Magic once had the rights to Saric. In the 2014 draft, the Sixers used the 10th overall pick on Louisiana-Lafayette point guard Elfrid Payton. Two picks later, the Magic drafted Saric. Then the Sixers traded Payton to the Magic for Saric, a 2017 first-round pick, and a 2015 second-round selection.

Payton is finishing his third season with Orlando, averaging 12.6 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game heading into Tuesday’s game at Cleveland. He started 54 of 78 contests in 2016-17. Saric, who grew up in Croatia, played the last two seasons in Turkey before signing with the Sixers last summer. He is a leading candidate to win the rookie-of-the-year award.

“They [traded] me,” Saric said of the Magic. “That’s life. … Sometimes you can have some option in life, you choose another one. They chose one way. I chose my own way.”

Missing from the picture

The Sixers took their 2016-17 team photo before Tuesday’s game. The one noticeable omission was standout Joel Embiid. The rookie center is still in California after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee on March 24. He has begun his rehabilitation there.

Mr. Academics

Alex Poythress was an academic all-American at Kentucky. He earned his undergraduate degree in business marketing in three years with a 3.5 grade point average. Poythress is two classes short of earning a master’s degree in sports leadership.

“My mom always stressed to me that academics were important. So kudos to her,” he said.

His mother, Regina, was an elementary schoolteacher when Alex was growing up. She now works for the federal government.