Lots of movement on the Goran Dragic front. We said yesterday that it seemed like a Dragic trade might be unrealistic since he initially gave Phoenix a ‘do-trade’ list and the Celtics weren’t on it. Marc Stein at ESPN was also reporting the Suns wanted to hold onto Dragic and that Isaiah Thomas was more likely to get dealt. Boy it’s funny how things can change in a matter of less than 24 hours.
Let’s just say that Dragic isn’t happy with Phoenix at the moment. He came out publicly lambasting the front office, saying that he “didn’t trust them anymore”. From ESPN:
“To be a point guard, to run the team and have the ball in my hands and try to make plays for others,” Dragic said. “That’s who I am.”
“Last year was great. This year it’s different,” Dragic said. “…Standing in the corner, it’s not my game.”
Thus, this gave Phoenix every reason to start shopping Dragic and according to all reports surfacing it appears that the Suns are aggressively trying to move him. But to who? And for what?
Let’s handle the who part first. Initially Dragic told the Suns that his short list of preferred destinations included either the Knicks, Lakers or Heat. Given Dragic’s meltdown in the last 24 hrs, that list appears to have grown. Adrian Wojnarowksi is now reporting that the Celtics, Rockets and Kings are now the teams most aggressively pursuing Dragic.
The major stumbling block will likely be the price. Wojnarowski claims that Phoenix wants “a young player with significant potential and a first-round draft pick or two first-round picks”. From the Celtics standpoint that could mean parting ways with someone like a Jared Sullinger or James Young and a combination of one or two picks. This equates to Sully and a 1st, or say Young and two 1st Rounders. Meh….i don’t know.
Look I like Dragic, he’s a great offensive player. This is a guy that can create, he can shoot and is incredibly tough to guard. One scout in the Eastern Conference had this to say about Dragic last year:
“He’s got it all. There’s nothing he doesn’t do well. If there’s anything, it’s that he may not have the greatest speed. But with the ball in his hands, he’s fast, and he gets by people. He’s got a great first step and he’s quick as hell when it comes to that.”
But the biggest question–does this hinder the development of Marcus Smart? Smart has really started to blossom, his shot is improving and I think we’ve seen flashes of how he can be a centerpiece of the Celtics back-court for years to come. If a deal for Dragic happens, it likely equates into less minutes for Smart this year. I’m not sure what the rotation looks like between Dragic, Bradley and Smart, but the look for the offense changes drastically.
The other question is the contract. Dragic is a free agent next year, and any team making a trade has to have some sort of re-assurance from Dragic that he will stick around. A big risk. And a big commitment. Word has is that Dragic is seeking somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 years/$80 million.
This is a risky situation. Dragic seems like a little bit of a loose cannon at the moment and unless Ainge is 99.9% certain this guy will sign for a somewhat reasonable deal next year there’s no way he can pull the trigger. Dragic is a difference maker on offense, but I do worry bringing him in could hold back Smart’s development. Unless of course Bradley is a part of a deal somehow and Smart becomes the 2 guard. A lot of questions for me. Certainly tough to predict how anything falls into place, but it’s fun to at least think about.
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