Goran Dragic has a player option for $7.5 million to remain with the Suns next season. But one year after becoming a third team All-NBA selection, it’s widely expected that he will opt out and pursue a much higher payday as an unrestricted free agent.
In fact, Dragic himself said as much this past summer.
But at the time it was expected that Dragic would simply do so to pursue a more lucrative deal to remain in Phoenix. Could things have changed?
While that might have been the idea at that time, that’s not the case now, as Dragic will have an “open” free agency, league sources told Sporting News. When Dragic opts out and becomes a free agent next July, he will be a sought-after commodity, and while Phoenix would get the first hearing, Dragic will have options.
Among those options, according to sources, would be Houston — the team Dragic left in order to sign with Phoenix in 2012. The Rockets are well-stocked with point guards, but nearly all, including starter Patrick Beverley, can become free agents next summer.
The Lakers also figure to be a potential landing spot for Dragic, a source said — though, to be clear, the Lakers have only about $36 million committed next season with needs at just about every position, and thus are expected to pursue multiple big-name free agents.
November is a little early to be discussing what a player might be thinking of doing in free agency the following summer, but let’s entertain the idea since we’re here.
Dragic may remain happy in Phoenix by the time the season finished, but even that wouldn’t guarantee that he’d stay. The Suns could try to re-sign him with a lower-than-desired offer, and another team could come calling with a max offer to play somewhere else.
There’s also the question of his potential role on a new team.
The Suns are having a tough time adjusting to their glut of point guards on the roster, and Dragic could look at opportunities where he could once again be a true point guard, and a team’s primary ball-handler without having to share those duties with two others.
As for the potential suitors, Houston has never been afraid to revisit its personnel mistakes; go ahead and ask Trevor Ariza about that. And the Lakers, well … let’s just say they should be taking a hard look at anyone approaching an All-Star level who could be an upgrade to what has become a dismal overall roster.
Getting back to Dragic, there are three main factors which will determine whether or not he stays in Phoenix: The contract that the Suns end up offering, his happiness with his role on the team, and his level of satisfaction with the way this year unfolds. None of that can be determined until the current season is finished.