Sports fans here in Phoenix are often made fun of throughout the country for being too laid back and not dedicated enough to the teams here in the Valley. The days following the Goran Dragic trade would say otherwise.
As it is already well-known, the fan favorite Dragic was traded on Thursday to the Miami Heat just minutes before the end of the NBA Trade Deadline. There have been some, like myself, who have come out in support of all the moves the Suns made, while others simply haven’t.
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Let me start out by saying that I like Dragic as a player. He was one of the few reasons why this team was watchable a few years back and he was an obvious All-Star snub last season.
While saying those things, I have seen way too many Suns fans, through message boards and on Twitter, overvalue Dragic considerably over the last couple days following the trade. I’ve seen some fans say that Slovenian guard needed be kept at all costs, even if that was a max contract, which is an obscene amount for a player of Dragic’s caliber
Other fans have taken a different approach by criticizing Eric Bledsoe for the Suns 0-2 start out of the All-Star break and Suns general manager Ryan McDonough for his comments about his former guard during Friday’s press conference.
I hate to break it to those fans, but a 25-year-old Bledsoe with tremendous upside and a guy about to hit his prime is staying here for a long time. Oh yeah, McDonough was correct in his statements too.
Yes, the Suns did get the better player in the deal with Brandon Knight. Knight is having a much better season than Dragic on both ends of the court, is significantly younger and won’t command a max contract when he becomes a restricted free agent. It’s a no-brainer to have him over Dragic.
McDonough was correct in calling Dragic a “selfish” player as well.
Instead of keeping his mouth shut and playing out the rest of his contract where would become an unrestricted once summer hit, he shot off his mouth and put the organization in a terrible situation only hours until the trade deadline. Not only that, but he supposedly told teams that the Suns were trying to iron out deals with that he wouldn’t re-sign with them.
Dragic should have taken a page from his former mentor Steve Nash. Sure Nash asked to be traded, but he did it in the best interest of the organization by getting the Suns a real good return. Dragic played the role of a diva and wanted to go to a team of his choosing regardless of what kind of return Phoenix received back.
Don’t get me wrong, Dragic did some good things while he was in a Suns uniform, but how he handled things at the end of his tenure will something I will never forget. I always thought he was a team first guy, but instead he showed that he’s a “me” guy who just wants to get paid big dough.
Despite how things ended, it’s time for everyone, both supporters and non-supporters of the trades, to on from Dragic. He’s now in Miami, where he has a chance to make the postseason in a weak bottom end of the Eastern Conference.
For Suns fans, this team gets a younger piece to build around for the future and two more first rounds, assets that they can use to go out and get a star when one becomes available. Fans also have a young, exciting roster to cheer on as they fight for the final spot in a brutally difficult Western Conference.
If you would have told me that this organization would have been in this position just two years ago when McDonough took over a roster filled with very little young talent, no assets and little financial flexibility, I would have called you crazy. Instead, they are right there battling for a playoff spot.
Enjoy it Suns fans and let Dragic be part of the past.