SATURDAY, 9:21 pm: Zoran Dragic is in advanced discussions with Unicaja Malaga to leave the team and come to the NBA, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM. The Slovenian point guard has a buyout clause of $1.1MM to leave the Euroleague team, so presumably he has an agreement in place with an NBA squad. It’s possible that the team could have relinquished its buyout requirement, or that Dragic is paying for it himself, but it is much more likely that an NBA team is set to foot the bill.
The Suns, Pacers, and Kings have been named as the most aggressive suitors for the younger brother of Goran Dragic, although the Cavs, Heat, Magic, Spurs, Mavs, and Rockets have also registered interest. If Phoenix has struck a deal with the 25-year-old, it could have massive ripple effects around the league. The Suns are at a negotiating standoff with restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe, and adding another Dragic to the already-stacked Phoenix backcourt could signal their willingness to move on from Bledsoe, who Minnesota would bring on with a max contract if they had the room to do so.
Momentum has been building all summer for the younger Dragic, who has until October 5th to exercise the escape clause before becoming locked into another season overseas. At one point, it seemed like a long shot that the point guard would be coming stateside before next season, but he repeatedly stated his desire to find his way to the NBA amid a strong performance in the FIBA tournament spotlight. The hefty buyout payment, which exceeds the $600K max to not count against the cap, could mean that at least one team believes in him as a player who can contribute immediately. If Dragic fetches more than the minimum from a team willing to invest in his services, the Cavs, Heat, and Mavs are unlikely candidates to have snagged him.