We can file this under, duh. Suns guard and Slovenian wunderkind, Goran Dragic has a $7.5 million player option next summer. Dragic averaged career highs across the board on offense this past season while getting named to the All-NBA Third Team, so it stands to reason he’d exercise his option and become a free agent. Today he seemed to make it clear he’ll do just that when the time comes, but Suns fans shouldn’t worry about losing the Dragon, he wants to stay in town.
Dragic — before taking on the Americans in the FIBA World Cup earlier today — reportedly told Jaka Lopati? of Slovenian website Planet Siol.net (translated via Dave King of Bright Side of the Sun) that he plans to opt out of his deal next summer, but then hopes to immediately re-sign with the Suns:
“Got a very interesting position with the club. Guess I’ll break the contract and sign a new one,” he said. “As I spoke [to the Suns], I immediately during the first week, when the market opens, sign and I will therefore be calm.”
King’s reading appears to point to Dragic re-signing, but there can be a lot lost in translation, even in our current inter-connected world. Then again, Phoenix rivals, the Lakers and the Rockets — the latter of whom attempted to re-sign him in 2012, but lost out to the same offer from Phoenix — are also reportedly interested in the dynamo guard.
Still, if the Suns make him a priority, and why wouldn’t they, he should easily get signed at market value since he wants to stay in Phoenix.
Believe it or not, Dragic was never a real starter until he signed with the Suns for four years and $30 million in July of 2012. Since then, he’s averaged career highs in points per game in each of his two seasons, and jumped from 14.7 PPG in 2012-13 to 20.3 PPG for the 2014-15 season.
Part of that jump came with Eric Bledsoe helping in the backcourt and Dragic moving over to shooting guard in coach Jeff Hornacek‘s attacking offense. He also shot a career high 50.5 percent from the field (an astronomical number for a guard — not named LeBron — with his usage percentage) and a career high 40.8 percent from beyond the three-point arc.
There’s a reason he was a surprise pick to make the All-NBA Third Team, despite missing out on an all-star nomination many felt he deserved.
The Suns will have a ton of cap space next summer, too, with only around $17 million tied up in P.J. Tucker, Isaiah Thomas and rookie T.J. Warren. The rest of the roster is either on a team option, or they’ll be free agents next summer, like Dragic plans to be.
The only hiccup in Dragic’s plan stems from a possible decrease in his production — especially if Bledsoe is dealt or signs elsewhere. Then again, he might play even better paired with Zeke, and it could force Phoenix to offer him the max, even though we don’t quite think he’s at that level yet. Then again, he’s close, and he just keeps improving.
The year of the Dragon ended in February of 2013, and it’s not coming around again until February of 2024. We doubt that holds him, or Phoenix, back.
Will Dragic have another great season in Phoenix this year?
Follow Spencer on Twitter at @SpencerTyrel.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.