Franchise players have carte blanche, and rightfully so. Legitimate superstars are power brokers in the NBA because it’s been proven time and again that a team needs one – and preferably two or three – to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy come season’s end.
But that distinction carries no definition. Just because a guy is his certain squad’s best, highest paid, or most accomplished player doesn’t mean he’s an overlord the status of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, or the select few like those luminaries.
If it wasn’t clear before that the Phoenix Suns understand that reality, it certainly is after Thursday’s wild trade deadline. Not only did GM Ryan McDonough and company trade their team’s lone All-NBA honoree, but also made a series of subsequent moves that improved Phoenix’s present and future more than anyone could have imagined given the contentious circumstances of earlier this week.
Goran Dragic is out, Brandon Knight is in, and the Suns pulled off that effective swap by gaining two additional first-round picks by the deadline’s passing.
Phoenix should be proud of such an impressive overhaul just hours removed from Dragic’s public trade demand. Does that mean it should throw its former star under the proverbial bus? Probably not, but McDonough did just that while speaking with reporters on Friday.
Dragic handled his departure from the Suns as gracefully as any player who publicly requested a trade possibly could have. His displeasure shouldn’t have come to that awkward place at all, of course, and the 28 year-old said as much in a farewell message to the Phoenix organization and its fans posted on twitter.
“Thank you to my fans, teammates and many friends in Phx!! You are what made #cluborange a 2nd home for me and my family! The Suns organization has been good to me and I hope everyone knows I’d never say or do anything to purposely offend or minimize the success we’ve had.”