The Suns had one of the best backcourts in the NBA last season with Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe almost leading them to the playoffs in the West.
Now there are questions if they can keep either of them. The Suns remain in a standoff with restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe, with a four-year, $48 million offer on the table and Bledsoe threatening to play for the qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent next season.
Then there is Dragic, who can opt out and become an unrestricted free agent next summer — and will opt out. Then he will quickly re-sign with the Suns because he likes Phoenix, he told a reporter at the World Cup in Spain, as translated at Bright Side of the Suns.
“Got a very interesting position with the club. Guess I’ll break the contract and sign a new one,” he said. “As I spoke [to the Suns], I immediately during the first week, when the market opens, sign and I will therefore be calm.”
We should say for the record to take all translations of foreign interviews with a grain of salt. Also, situations can change over the course of a season.
That said, Dragic is a big fan of Phoenix — he took a little less money that was reportedly offered elsewhere a couple years ago to stay. He is in for a big raise but might give another hometown discount.
Dragic averaged 20.3 points and 5.9 assists last season for the Suns, playing at an All-Star level. He also played very well for Slovenia in the World Cup.
The interesting position he refers to could mean that under the current CBA the Suns cannot simply offer him a massive extension (the max is a 7.5 percent raise on his current deal, which is for $7.5 million next year). If he opts out, the Suns can give him the $13-$15 million he likely draws on the open market (maybe more depending on how he plays this coming season, there are a lot of teams with cap room next summer).
The question is does Dragic want to be courted, to check out his other options. Because he will have plenty. But it sounds like he wants to stay in the valley of the sun.