One member of Phoenix’s dynamic backcourt has committed to remain for the foreseeable future, with Eric Bledsoe having re-signed for five years and $70MM, and Suns GM Ryan McDonough wants to make sure that’s the case for Goran Dragic, too. McDonough expressed a desire to do what it takes to keep the Slovenian guard, who has said he plans to decline his $7.5MM player option for 2015/16 and hit free agency next summer, as Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic reports.
“We don’t have many long-term commitments,” McDonough said. “We have every intention of keeping Goran in a Suns uniform as long as possible. We know he loves Phoenix. There’s plenty of money for Goran next year or when it comes up. We fully anticipate taking care of him.”
The Suns only have about $31MM tied up for 2015/16, not counting Dragic’s player option, more than $7MM in rookie scale team options for Alex Len, Miles Plumlee and Archie Goodwin, and potential extensions for Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris. That should still leave plenty of room for a lucrative new deal with Dragic, though Phoenix has his Bird rights, as thus the power to exceed the cap to re-sign him, if the Suns deem it necessary.
Dragic caught the eye of many teams around the league last season as he won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award in a year in which he scored 20.3 points per game after never having averaged as many as 15 PPG. The Pacers appeared to have interest in trading for him early this summer, and the Rockets have reportedly been considering a push to sign him in free agency next summer. The Lakers were apparently among the teams likely to make a play for both Bledsoe and Dragic in the hopes that the Suns would be unable to re-sign the two of them if they were to hit unrestricted agency at the same time in 2015, but Bledsoe’s long-term deal undermines any such plans. The Suns are nearing a deal with Zoran Dragic, Goran’s younger brother, and that would presumably give Phoenix another edge in keeping the older Dragic around.