The Suns signed guard Eric Bledsoe to a five-year, $70 million free agent deal this past summer, and also gave then-restricted free agent guard Isaiah Thomas a four-year, $27 million deal in a sign-and-trade acquisition from the Sacramento Kings.
At the time, the signing of Thomas seemed as though it might have been Bledsoe insurance, in case Phoenix couldn’t come to terms with its own restricted free agent, whose threat to sign a one-year qualifying offer and then bolt after this season was legitimate, and one that the Suns wisely took seriously.
But as it turns out, it may be insurance for Goran Dragic instead.
Dragic is the best of the three in my opinion, in terms of possessing the combination of abilities required to both orchestrate an offense, as well as take it over at the times it becomes necessary. But he will opt out of the final year of his deal to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and the trade offers are already rolling in just in case the Suns aren’t absolutely certain of their ability to get him to re-sign.
The Phoenix Suns, who visited the lowly Knicks on Saturday, are in a bit of a quagmire with free agent-to-be Goran Dragic, rival executives say. Multiple teams already are inquiring as to what it would take to break up the Suns’ three-headed guard rotation of Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas — with Dragic, a prospective free agent, garnering the most attention. Coincidentally, executives have gotten the impression that Dragic is the one Phoenix would most like to keep if they do, indeed, decide to make a move. …
The anticipated rise in the salary cap resulting from the NBA’s $24 billion TV deal has bolstered Phoenix’s hopes of re-signing Dragic, which they fully intend to do, a league source said. But in the meantime, they’ll listen to offers as they try to establish his value on the open market and what it will cost to pay him.
The team to watch here is Houston, which has been after Dragic since he left as a free agent in 2012.
The Rockets haven’t been afraid to correct player personnel mistakes they’ve made in the past. Trevor Ariza is back in Houston, on a more reasonable contract in a more appropriate role after his unsuccessful first stint there ended with him being traded out of town — so they’re indeed a suitor to watch.
But from the Suns’ perspective, there isn’t any rush.
Dragic has expressed a public desire to remain in Phoenix, so as long as the Suns are willing to come correct with an offer at or near the max, it seems like they’d have the inside track on getting Dragic to re-sign.
If something changes between now and February’s trade deadline, however, Phoenix will have no shortage of options when it comes to dealing one of its three talented and offensively-minded guards.