WEDNESDAY, 7:55am: The Celtics are jumping into the Dragic sweepstakes, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, who indicates that they have an outside shot at this point (All four Twitter links). They have attractive assets and, like the Rockets and Kings, are willing to trade for Dragic without assurances he’d re-sign this summer, Stein adds. Part of the reason all three are on board with doing so is their belief that the chance to offer him a five-year deal this summer instead of one that covers only four seasons is a crucial edge, according to Stein. Only teams with a player’s Bird rights may offer a player a five-year deal, as Stein points out, and any club that trades for Dragic at the deadline inherits his Bird rights.
11:51pm: The Kings want Dragic “bad,” a source told Spears (Twitter link). Sacramento could conceivably deal Jason Thompson and Nik Stauskas to clear enough cap space to make Dragic a max contract offer this summer, the Yahoo! scribe adds.
11:45pm: The Rockets have an interest in acquiring Dragic, but he has privately expressed the fear that Houston would later deal him if he signed with the franchise long-term, Wojnarowski relays.
10:17pm: The Pacers are also a possible destination for Dragic, Wojnarowski reports.
9:50pm: There are a total of seven teams listed that Dragic would prefer to play for, Amick tweets.
9:34pm: Dragic’s preferred teams also include the Knicks and the Heat, Wojnarowski reports (Twitter link).
9:30pm: The Rockets, despite their interest in Dragic, are not one of the teams likely to secure a long-term commitment from the guard, Marc Stein of ESPN.com tweets.
9:26pm: Dragic’s agent Bill Duffy provided the Suns with a list of teams that Dragic would prefer to be traded to, which included the Lakers, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports adds.
9:21pm: When asked if there was any scenario in which Dragic would stay in Phoenix, a source close to him told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link), “Don’t think so.”
9:17pm: The Suns have informed Dragic that the team will accept his request for a trade and will work to move him before the deadline, Shams Charania of RealGM reports (Twitter link). Dragic’s agent had informed the team that his client would not re-sign with the Suns this summer, Sam Amick of USA Today reports.
2:03pm: Dragic’s discontent with the crowded Phoenix backcourt is growing, and several league sources tell Wojnarowski they believe that the Suns have to move Thomas before July to have a chance at re-signing Dragic. Still, there’s a “strong belief” that Dragic will re-sign with Phoenix if he once more finds the comfort he used to have there, Wojnarowski writes, citing Dragic’s strong relationship with coach Jeff Hornacek and GM Ryan McDonough as well as his enjoyment of playing with his brother, Zoran. It’s not out of the realm of possibility the Suns will trade Dragic before Thursday’s deadline, but it’s extremely unlikely, according to Wojnarowski.
TUESDAY, 11:20am: An opposing team would have to give up a young player with All-Star potential and a draft pick for the Suns to even consider trading Dragic, sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter links). It’s far more likely the Suns would deal Thomas or Gerald Green, Wojnarowski hears. Phoenix is making Green available, as Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders wrote earlier this morning when he identified the Knicks as a team with interest in Dragic.
3:37pm: Dragic’s agent has plans to meet with the Suns on Tuesday, but Phoenix remains determined to re-sign the guard this summer, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link).
2:52pm: The “sense” is that the Suns are ready to deal Dragic rather than see him walk in free agency this year, Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck tweets.
MONDAY, 1:18pm: Phoenix is inclined to keep Dragic, as Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports writes in his weekly power rankings column.
1:49pm: The latest version of Stein’s story backs off the assertion that the Lakers plan a max offer to Dragic, saying only that the team intends to propose a four-year deal that would be worth as much as $80MM if it approaches max territory. In any case, Stein also passes along comments Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby made to Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic indicating that Phoenix will be proactive at the trade deadline.
“I would take the fifth, generally, on any of these specific trade rumors,” Babby said. “What I would say is I expect us to be active. And what I mean by that is we’re not going to just sit here and wait for the phone to ring. We’ll be initiating calls to every team, and taking the temperature of what’s out there and what’s available. And it wouldn’t surprise me at all if we do something between now and next Thursday.”
FRIDAY, 11:08am: The Heat are the latest team rumored to have interest in Goran Dragic, but the Rockets and Lakers, who’ve been eyeing him for months, appear poised to take another go at him before Thursday’s trade deadline, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Houston hopes to talk seriously with Phoenix about a deal in the coming days, sources tell Stein, while the Lakers presumably would like the same as they plan a max offer for him in free agency this summer, Stein also hears. Phoenix has been turning away suitors for Dragic of late, but sources tell Stein that the Suns have been trying to get a read all season on whether the reigning Most Improved Player will re-sign when them this summer. Dragic plans to turn down a $7.5MM player option for next season and hasn’t ruled out leaving Phoenix.
The 28-year-old acknowledged this month that he’s felt frustration with Phoenix’s crowded backcourt, according to Stein. His numbers, including minutes and shot attempts, are down this season after a career year in 2013/14. GM Ryan McDonough acknowledged fault this week for overloading the team’s backcourt, which also includes Eric Bledsoe and Thomas, both of whom the Suns signed to long-term deals this summer, and 2014 first-round pick Tyler Ennis.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey and company would still like to make another significant addition this season after adding Corey Brewer and Josh Smith, Stein writes. Dragic, whom the Rockets have already tried to trade for this season, as Jeff Zillgitt and Sam Amick of USA Today wrote last month, would be the biggest boost of the season for Houston, which is without Dwight Howard for at least another three weeks. The Rockets no longer have a trade exception of $1MM or more to use, but they have a better store of trade chips than the Lakers do, as I wrote when I examined Dragic’s trade candidacy.
The Suns are reportedly seeking a first-round pick in return for Dragic. They already have the Lakers’ first-rounder this year unless it falls within the top five selections. The Rockets will send the Lakers their first-round pick if they make the playoffs this year, but Houston has a protected first-rounder coming from the Pelicans.