MONDAY, 12:36pm: The deal is official, the team announced.
“Zoran’s will to win and intensity stand out every time he steps on to the court,” GM Ryan McDonough said in the team’s statement. “He has been a very productive player in Euroleague, ACB and FIBA competitions. He excels defensively and in transition and I think our fans will quickly recognize his passion for the game.”
FRIDAY, 7:55am: Coro clarifies that a total of only $3.4MM will count against the cap for the Suns over the two seasons of the deal (Twitter link), so it appears as though the $4,012,500 figure that was reported earlier includes the $600K that Phoenix is allowed to contribute toward the buyout without it counting against the cap. That would mean the precise cap hits for Phoenix in 2014/15 and 2015/16 combined would come to $3,412,500, close to the figure that Amick reported, as we noted below.
Dragic confirmed the deal to Gal Zbačnik of Kosarki.si, while Unicaja Malaga formally announced Dragic’s departure from the team (on Twitter; translations via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia)
3:36pm: The total value of Dragic’s deal is $4,012,500, Shams Charania of RealGM reports (Twitter link).
12:26pm: The amount buyout for the BDA Sports Management client was negotiated down to $1MM, reports Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. It’s not entirely clear whether it was Dragic’s camp, the Suns, or both who pushed the Spanish team to lower its demand.
THURSDAY, 11:01am: The Suns are set to sign Spanish league shooting guard Zoran Dragic to a two-year guaranteed deal, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. It’ll be worth a total of $3.5MM, according to Sam Amick of USA Today (on Twitter). Multiple reports from earlier indicated that Dragic had informed Spain’s Unicaja Malaga that he was leaving the team and would pay a buyout of about $1.1MM, with the Suns having placed a two-year offer on the table. Phoenix appears to be using some of its approximately $5.7MM in cap space remaining after Wednesday’s re-signing of Eric Bledsoe.
The 25-year-old will join older brother Goran Dragic on the Suns, and the addition will ostensibly aid Phoenix in its efforts to retain Goran long-term. The Suns beat out the Pacers, Kings, Heat, Magic, Spurs and Mavs, all of whom appeared to show interest in signing Zoran Dragic within the past month. Houston, too, was in the mix earlier this year, and the Rockets were reportedly the leading contender for him as of May. The Rockets have also eyed Goran Dragic, who played a season and a half for Houston earlier in his career.
Zoran Dragic has longed to play in the NBA, though he appeared prepared to begin the season overseas. His buyout costs more than the $600K Excluded International Player Payment Amount that an NBA team can dole out without it counting against the salary cap and without the money essentially coming out of Dragic’s paycheck. Still, a report indicated that Goran Dragic, who’ll make $7.5MM from the Suns this season, would likely pay part of the buyout for his brother.
The recent FIBA World Cup helped the 6’5″ Zoran Dragic make his case for a spot on an NBA roster, as he averaged 12.9 points and 4.0 rebounds in more than 26 minutes per game and made 13 of 30 three-point attempts playing alongside his brother on the Slovenian national team. His numbers had been less impressive last season for Unicaja Malaga, when he put up 10.6 PPG and 2.7 RPG in 20.3 MPG while shooting just 32.7% from behind the arc.
The deal gives the Suns 15 fully guaranteed pacts, as our roster counts show, likely setting the roster for opening night. It further diminishes the chances that Earl Barron and Casey Prather, who’d been with the club on non-guaranteed arrangements, will make it to opening night.