Dario Saric says his new minutes guideline is 'hard to accept'

Dario Saric says his new minutes guideline is 'hard to accept'

CAMDEN, N.J. -- Dario Saric can relate to Joel Embiid.

Saric has been placed on a 24-minute guideline designed to get him through the final five games of the season. He's been dealing with left heel soreness, and the Sixers capped his minutes, which had reached 31.7 per game during March.

Earlier this season, Embiid played under a minutes restriction that was incrementally increased to 28.

"It's hard to accept," Saric said after shootaround on Tuesday. "Now I feel how Joel [felt] the beginning of the season. Your mind, you want to play. You have opportunity to play one minute more or two minutes more, why not."

Saric has played one game under this guideline. He scored 16 points with three rebounds in 24 minutes on Sunday in the Sixers' loss to the Raptors. 

Saric would like to play all 82 games this season to "show I am tough." He is following the direction of the Sixers' medical team to get to that mark, but he can't guarantee he won't plead his case to go beyond the guideline with the game on the line.

"(The) medical staff, I can say just positive things about them and that means they take good care of us," Saric said. "I want to play more minutes if it's a chance to win the game. It would be hard, sometimes if you have minute restrictions and get the win, but it's OK. I'll try to push myself and I will try to explain to coaches if it's like last minute or something, to go over that 24."

Saric's playing time is scaled back as he wrapped up his second straight Rookie of the Month award. He averaged 18.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists in March.

"I am very proud of myself," Saric said. "I am very proud especially of the staff of coaches who worked this year with me, who worked on my game. I think I deserve that. I push myself every game. I try to play every game. I try to be competitive every game. I'm very happy because of that."

Saric reiterated his main objective this season is to experience team success, not individual accolades. He is eyeing 30 wins. The Sixers have 28 heading into Tuesday's game against the Nets. 

"I think it's more beautiful to see you have 30 wins than for example 29, 28. Sometimes for eyes, it's better," he said. "(It's) something special when the team last year got 10 wins and make three times better. ... It means something for us and it means something for the organization. We're moving forward. We're growing. ... To get 30 wins, I think we can be proud."

Sixers trade Shawn Long to Houston for 2018 2nd-round pick, cash

Sixers trade Shawn Long to Houston for 2018 2nd-round pick, cash

Let the Sixers' stockpiling of future second-round picks continue.

The team on Wednesday traded forward Shawn Long to the Houston Rockets in exchange for a 2018 second-rounder as well as cash considerations. Long played in 18 games for the Sixers last season, averaging 8.2 points in 12.7 minutes per game while shooting better than 41 percent from beyond the arc.

The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the deal.

Long, the 2016 Sun Belt Conference player of the year with Louisiana-Lafayette, was named a 2017 D-League all-star after a stellar start to the season with the Delaware 87ers. He was called up on March 6 and stuck with the Sixers for the remainder of the season.

The trade is the fifth of the day for the Rockets and Houston general manager Daryl Morey, who already completed a blockbuster deal earlier Wednesday to acquire All-Star point guard Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Sixers now have four second-round picks in next year's draft (three of which they have traded for plus their own) in addition to their first-rounder and the Lakers' top pick, unless it goes to Boston.

Clippers trade star Chris Paul to Rockets in blockbuster

Clippers trade star Chris Paul to Rockets in blockbuster

HOUSTON — Chris Paul is heading to Houston to join James Harden, and the Rockets will soon have two All-Stars in the backcourt to lead their chase for a championship.

The Rockets acquired Paul from the Clippers in exchange for Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Darrun Hilliard, DeAndre Liggins, Kyle Wiltjer, a protected first-round pick next year and cash considerations.

The 32-year-old Paul opted in for the last year of his contract so the Clippers could work on a deal.

The Rockets acquired Hilliard from Detroit and Liggins from Dallas for cash considerations on Wednesday before adding them to the deal for Paul.

The nine-time All-Star has averaged 18.7 points, 9.9 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 steals over his 12-year career, though he has been dogged with criticism in recent years for failing to help the Clippers get out of the second round of the playoffs.