Suns GM: Since trading Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas, ‘vibe around our team is better’

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When the Suns traded two of their point guards at last week’s deadline, it raised a few eyebrows, at least initially.

Seeing Goran Dragic get dealt wasn’t a huge surprise, after he came out and said he didn’t trust the front office anymore and wouldn’t consider re-signing in Phoenix as an unrestricted free agent this summer.

But things were quiet publicly where Isaiah Thomas was concerned, and he was traded too, after Phoenix went to the trouble of acquiring him before the season began.

Suns GM Ryan McDonough didn’t appreciate Dragic’s comments, and fired back somewhat pointedly, essentially stating that the selfishness of Dragic and Thomas was the reason both were no longer with the franchise.

McDonough doubled down on those remarks, reiterating many of the same points when explaining the deadline day deals to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe:

“If a player makes a mistake because he’s being too aggressive on the court and playing hard, that’s fine, we can live with that,” he said. “If players don’t play as well or make mistakes because they’re being a little more selfish and not as concerned about the team success, then that’s something we have a hard time with. I think the message was pretty simple. Anybody that buys into our culture, does what it takes to win and sacrifices for the team, will be here, hopefully for a long time.

“The guys that are more worried about other things and their top priority is not winning basketball games, then we’ll get rid of them. We have no problem doing that.” …

“Despite all the changes and the turmoil, we’re two games out of the eighth spot right now. We’re going to see what we can do. Since we made the moves, the vibe around our team is better. The players have more energy. I feel good about our direction.”

Reshaping the roster for the future is nice, and having a positive atmosphere is important. But while the three-guard thing didn’t work as planned, perhaps due to selfishness creeping in as McDonough mentioned, the reality is that the Suns were more talented before these deals were made.

Phoenix really needs to make the playoffs this year in order for the fan base to feel good about the midseason trades, and it’s going to be difficult, to say the least. Not only is Oklahoma City coming on strong, but the Suns finish the season with a brutal stretch of games — at Atlanta, at Dallas, at New Orleans, at San Antonio, vs. the Clippers — that would seem to make the task an even taller one than usual.