With the NBA Trade Deadline on Thursday, there have been plenty of whispers over the last several days that the Suns might be shopping guard Goran Dragic.
Despite Dragic being beloved by the fan base, the Suns considering to move him over the coming days makes some sense. Phoenix doesn’t want to risk losing him for absolutely nothing when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.
There’s a very real possibility that Dragic could be in a different uniform come next season. He’s said that he’s willing to explore all his options and a team can come out of nowhere to sign him the very minute he’s officially a free agent.
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One of the top teams rumored to be interested in signing Dragic over the coming offseason is none other than the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers only have four players with guaranteed contract next season (Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, Julius Randle and Ryan Kelly) and they’ll have a ton of money to play with this summer.
It’s no shock that the Lakers want Dragic in purple and gold as they have coveted him for the last couple of years, but the price tag they want to sign him at is a bit of a surprise.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, LA is expected to give the Slovenian a max deal when he becomes a free agent.
"The Los Angeles Lakers, who have also coveted Dragic for some time, are likewise presumed to be intent on testing the Suns’ resolve when it comes to their Slovenian point guard, since sources say L.A. plans to chase Dragic with an expected max four-year contract offer this summer."
A max contract offer by the Lakers would pay Dragic $81.2 million over the life of his four-year deal. If the Suns offered him a max contract, the 28-year-old would get paid $109.4 million with an extra year padded onto his deal.
Let me start out by saying that I’m a fan of Dragic’s game. His NBA career got off to a slow start, but he’s turned into one of the Suns best players in his late 20’s and a great guy to have in the locker room.
I just don’t view Dragic as a max contract player however, especially when he’s going to turn 29 in early May. The Suns would be paying him north of $20 million a year at ages 31-33, which is scary to think about.
The salary cap is projected to go up with the new TV contract, which makes it easier for teams to give out these kinds of contracts, but I still think that amount for Dragic is way too much. At best, I would probably pay him Eric Bledsoe’s contract at about $13 million a year on a multi-year deal.
There will be some general manager out there desperate enough to give Dragic that kind of deal though and it appears to be Mitch Kupchak. If I were a Lakers fan, I would revolt because if Dragic did sign with LA, the Lakers would be paying him and Bryant $45 million just between the two of them.
It’s hard to put a quality roster together filled with depth when that is the case.
If Dragic were to walk this offseason, the Suns would be more than okay. Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas are both about to hit the prime stages of their careers and the two of them together would cost the same amount as Dragic on a max contract.