I know that Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough damn near committed highway robbery when he turned Luis Scola into Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee and a first round draft pick last summer, but let’s pump the brakes for a second there, Larry Bird.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Indiana Pacers have tried to engage the Suns in trade talks involving their starting point guard Goran Dragic:
Indiana Pacers, I’m told, have tried to engage Phoenix in trade talks for Goran Dragic, but teams have found no common deal ground. Yet
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 3, 2014
Dragic, who is on one of the sexiest contracts in the NBA given his breakout year with the Suns last season, was named the league’s Most Improved Player and made Third Team All-NBA. He was the Western Conference’s biggest All-Star snub and was one of just three players in the league to average at least 20 points and 5.5 assists per game while shooting 50 percent from the floor. The other two? LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
Basically, here’s the thing about Goran Dragic: What in God’s green earth do the Pacers think they can offer the Phoenix Suns for at this point in time?
The two most likely options are Roy Hibbert or Lance Stephenson in a sign-and-trade. When he’s locked in, Hibbert is one of the league’s most unstoppable defensive forces. But after watching him mentally collapse down the final stretch of the season in Indiana, I’d hardly call his trade value “high,” especially when you’re talking about an All-NBA point guard who’s only getting paid $7 million per year.
As for Lance Stephenson, I’ve covered the good, the bad and the ugly of his game already, but it goes without saying for the Suns that you don’t trade your best player for a potential headache like Stephenson, who turned down a five-year, $44 million contract with the Pacers yesterday. And even if Stephenson wasn’t a potential disruptor to the team’s superb chemistry, Phoenix certainly shouldn’t be rolling the dice on Eric Bledsoe‘s knees just yet either.
You can’t really fault Bird and the Pacers for trying here. Dragic would represent a significant upgrade on George Hill, who is actually getting paid more than the Dragon this season. Nabbing Dragic in a trade would also make up for being embarrassed by McDonough last offseason in the Luis Scola deal. But unless the Pacers are somehow willing to part ways with Paul George, I don’t see how on earth a deal could possibly go down here.
Problem with Indy wanting Dragic is….what do they have to offer that is of worth? Just picks? — Amin Elhassan (@AminESPN) July 3, 2014
Word to the wise for the Suns: If at all possible, Goran Dragic is off limits. If you need to break up the Dragic-Bledsoe backcourt, I think it’s safe to say most Suns fans would live with Bledsoe being the one that’s sent away given how many teams might want to make him a max offer and the fact that he’s had two meniscus tears in his right knee in three years.
After the way Phoenix foolishly and coldly traded away Dragic for freaking Aaron Brooks in 2011, he’s earned his coming-home party. At some point in time, there’s something to be said for loyalty to a guy who’s been the Suns’ best player the last two seasons and just as importantly, loves playing for this organization. That, mixed with his considerable talent, heart and ability to orchestrate Phoenix’s offense, means turning down a potential deal with the Pacers is a no-brainer.