The Phoenix Suns want Goran Dragic for the long-haul, and the reigning All NBA Third-Team honoree wants to keep playing for the organization that spurred his rise to stardom. But there’s a complicating factor to Dragic’s future in Phoenix: the presence of much-debated offseason signee Isaiah Thomas.
A new report quotes sources indicating The Dragon will be far more likely to re-sign with the Suns this summer if GM Ryan McDonough finds a way to break-up the team’s three-headed point guard experiment before Thursday’s trade deadline by dealing the 5-9 Thomas.
Here’s Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowksi:
Dragic has become increasingly disenchanted with how the Suns’ three-guard experiment with Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas has impacted him this season, and several league sources believe that to keep Dragic long term it’s incumbent on the Suns to unload Thomas before the start of July free agency.
The Suns haven’t completely closed the door on possible Dragic trades, but that scenario is extremely unlikely, league sources said…
“They don’t sound like a team that wants to trade him – or even really consider it,” one rival executive told Yahoo Sports. “They still believe they’ll re-sign him in the summer.”
The Suns have been engaged in talks involving Thomas and guard Gerald Green prior to Thursday’s trade deadline, but there are no assurances Phoenix will find a deal for them.
Dragic has sent conflicting signals about the likelihood of him re-upping with the Suns since before the 2014-2015 season. Though he publicly committed to Phoenix in September, that talk was contradicted just several weeks later when reports read that he wants an “open free agency.” Might the Slovenian have seen present discomfort with Phoenix’s playing rotation coming? Given so much talk of his longevity with the Suns being directly tied to Thomas’, that seems a fair assumption.
We made the argument that inking Thomas to a four-year, $28 million contract last July was a smart decision with this very scenario in mind. It’s almost never a risk to accumulate as much talent as possible in the NBA, but Phoenix possessing Dragic, Thomas, and Eric Bledsoe could be the rare exception. And that’s fine. The upside of adding the 5-9 dnamo far outweighed the downside in large part due to the terms of his deal – Thomas is worth every penny of his approximately $7 million salary, especially as the salary cap continues to boom.
It shouldn’t be hard for McDonough and company to find a workable trade, basically, if that’s the route they’ve ultimately decided to take. And though Phoenix is working from a position of weakness considering the league’s knowledge of Dragic’s discontent and pending free agency, exchanging a dollar for 50 cents would be worth doing if it drastically increases the chances of the playmaking lefty re-signing in the desert this offseason.
Some players simply don’t fit a team’s construction or identity. Rather than take a passive approach to that reality with Thomas and risk alienating their star, the Suns are smart for wielding an active one – especially because they’ll have an opportunity to improve their roster in the process.