There is a “growing expectation” around the league that the Suns will at some point try to trade Goran Dragic in a deal similar to this afternoon’s Marcin Gortat swap, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com writes in his report on today’s deal. The Suns remain in talks with point guard Eric Bledsoe about a rookie-scale extension, and Dragic plays the same position. The Suns have expressed optimism that Bledsoe and Dragic can coexist as backcourt partners, but that might be more a stopgap solution than a long-term plan.
Dragic, 27, is entering the second season of a four-year deal that pays him $7.5MM annually and includes a player option for 2015/16. Phoenix may be loath to commit that kind of money long-term to a player who shares a position with one of its young building blocks. The Suns might be more inclined to keep Dragic around if they can’t reach a deal on an extension for Bledsoe by the October 31st deadline, but the Suns ultimately wield the hammer with Bledsoe, since they could match offers for him if he becomes a restricted free agent next summer.
The notion that the Suns may look to do a deal similar to the Gortat trade suggests GM Ryan McDonough will again look for a first-round pick, as he did today when he secured the Wizards’ 2014 first-rounder and this summer when he acquired the same bounty from Indiana for Luis Scola. The Suns have their own 2014 first-round pick, and they could wind up with the 2014 first-rounders of the T-Wolves, Pacers and Wizards, depending on how protection on each of those draft choices plays out. McDonough might want to fortify his picks for 2015 and beyond, drafts for which the only pick the Suns are owed is the Lakers’ 2015 first-rounder.