A relatively quiet day on the NBA trade rumor front got a lot more interesting on Tuesday evening, with multiple reports of a big name that is likely to be moved: Phoenix Suns point guard Goran Dragic.
Sam Amick of USA Today was first to report that the 28-year-old Dragic had his representatives inform the Suns that the point guard would not sign with the team after opting out of his contract this summer. The main problem? He isn’t enjoying splitting time in the Suns backcourt with Isaiah Thomas and Eric Bledsoe.
The main issue, according to one of the people, is that Dragic wants to run his own team with the kind of freedom and support given to someone such as Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. The decrease in production this season, as he sees it, is directly tied to the decrease in time spent as the lead guard with the host of ballhandlers that surround him. Dragic is averaging 16.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 33.4 minutes per game this season.
With Dragic looking to move on, Suns GM Ryan McDonough is reportedly looking into trading the young guard ahead of the trade deadline, rather than risk losing him for nothing in free agency this summer. Dragic’s representatives have also made clear the guard is looking to move to a bigger market.
— Paul Coro (@paulcoro) February 18, 2015
The Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and New York Knicks are among preferred destinations for Goran Dragic, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 18, 2015
It’s unclear at this point whether the Celtics are on Dragic’s list of preferred teams. Four of those eight teams have not been identified by reporters. However, there’s no doubt Boston would have at least exploratory interest in a fast-paced and offensive-minded point guard like Dragic. The drawbacks of any trade? He’ll command big money in free agency this summer, and his age (28) isn’t ideal for a rebuilding team like Boston.
With that said, he’s likely to be the best point guard on the open market once July rolls around, and his skillset would match up well with Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley in Boston’s backcourt. If Dragic is interested in playing for Boston, acquiring him in a deal ahead of the trade deadline would give the Celtics a better chance at retaining him this summer, since Boston would be the only team that’s able to offer him a five-year deal.
If Boston is not on Dragic’s wishlist, the Celtics could still get involved in any potential Dragic deal as a facilitator. The Celtics have two large trade exceptions as a result of the Rajon Rondo and Brandan Wright trades in the past couple months, so they could absorb salary from a third team that’s set to acquire Dragic, while also gaining an additional asset in the deal. Danny Ainge pulled off a similar move this summer, when he acquired Tyler Zeller and a future first-round pick for taking on Marcus Thornton’s $8.5 million salary in a three-team trade with Cleveland and Brooklyn.
With the C’s also reportedly showing interest in another member of the Phoenix backcourt (Isaiah Thomas) in recent days, the trade winds are certainly blowing in Boston. Stay tuned for a busy next couple days.