Tallahassee Journal

Trading for Goran Dragic may not mean keeping him

Trading for Goran Dragic may not mean keeping him

If anyone might have wondered whether this whole saga surrounding Goran Dragic was being overblown, he spoke for the skeptics Wednesday. The 28-year-old Phoenix Suns point guard who wants out of the Valley minced no words in his time with the news media, making it clear for the masses that it’s time to move on. He’ll always value his time in Phoenix, he said, but this basketball life in which he shares lead-guard duties with two others while so often waiting in the wing (or, more specifically, the corner) was not for him.635599049839131080-USATSI-8259980

The conviction with which Dragic spoke should be noted by the many teams that are pursuing him in advance of the Thursday trade deadline, as there is no doubt about this much at the moment: the man knows what he wants. Despite the fact that Dragic gave the Suns a list of teams with which he’d be willing to re-sign this summer (the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Miami Heat are known to be on this list), there is a separate camp of suitors that are hoping they could change his mind because of the all-important fifth year on a prospective contract that comes into play (the Houston Rockets and Bostons Celtics of the NBA world). The team that has Dragic at season’s end can offer a five-year deal, while all other teams can only offer four.

But according to a person with knowledge of his situation, the fifth year is not a factor for Dragic as he weighs his uncertain future. Dragic has been smart with his money, it seems, and the allure of the extra guaranteed year is not expected to have any sway on his free agency decision. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Dragic appears far more concerned with the fit with his future team, about being on a playoff contender or — in the cases of the Lakers and Knicks — about helping one of the league’s flagship franchises get back on its feet. He is known to have no interest in signing with teams like the Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics and Sacramento Kings that have been reportedly pursuing him despite not being on the list, The tricky part for the Suns, then, is that the teams on Dragic’s list don’t appear to have the kinds of assets (promising young player and a first-round pick) that the Suns want, while some teams that are not on his list clearly do.