The trade deadline is coming up soon and today's big story has been all about Goran Dragic, who reportedly told the Phoenix Suns that he would not re-sign with them this offseason. Sam Amick has the story:
According to two people with knowledge of the situation, the representatives for the Phoenix Suns point guard told team officials in a Tuesday meeting that he has no plans to re-sign in Phoenix this summer as a free agent. The people spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
With the Thursday trade deadline looming and the clear message now sent that Dragic plans on playing elsewhere next season, it remains to be seen if Suns general manager Ryan McDonough will succumb to the pressure and agree to a deal. According to one of the people, the Suns were given a list of seven teams with which Dragic would be willing to re-sign if traded.
Adrian Wojnarowski further confirmed this report and added that Dragic's list includes the Lakers, Knicks, Heat and Pacers.
With Dragic set to be a free agent this summer and reportedly seeking a max contract, the market for him might be a little thinner than it would usually be, especially if there are no assurances that he would re-sign. That probably wouldn't stop Sacramento though, as Yahoo's Marc Spears reports via twitter:
Kings want Goran Dragic "bad," source said.Sac could move Jason Thompson & Nik Stauskas to clear salary cap space for max offer in offseason— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) February 18, 2015
Dragic has had a bit of a drop-off this year after having a career-year last season when Phoenix shocked the league to win 48 games despite being projected as a lottery team. He's reportedly disliked the three point-guard situation this year that has seen him without the ball in his hands as much and is looking for an offense that he can have more control over.
So where do the Kings fit in all this? Well we know from how hot and bothered they were about Rajon Rondo that they're still not set on Darren Collison being their PG of the future and that they'd like another big name on the team. There's also the new addition of George Karl, who could possibly hand the keys over to Dragic in a way that he'd like long term. We also know that this team is not afraid to take risks, and would have traded over a lot to land Rondo or Kevin Love.
Sacramento is pretty strapped for assets as it is though. Nik Stauskas is the player they're reportedly dangling to try to get a deal. Unfortunately, he hasn't really shown enough so far in his rookie season to be incredibly appealing, although given that the market for Dragic might be thin, a young player like Stauskas on a cheap contract for three more years could be one of the better offers.
Still, there's the matter that a maximum contract offer for Dragic might be a big overpay. While Dragic did have a pretty amazing year last season, he's looked a bit more ordinary this year. In fact, his statistics are pretty similar to Darren Collison's (Player A is Collison, Player B is Dragic):
Player A makes the MLE. Player B wants a max contract next season. pic.twitter.com/RtjEIyWTly— Akis Yerocostas (@Aykis16) February 18, 2015
Is Dragic a $13-15 million upgrade to Collison? Probably not. But Sacramento is hardly a Free Agent destination as it is. If they can get Dragic and keep Collison, that makes the talent level of the team a lot better in the long run if Dragic re-signs. If he leaves this summer, you lost a first round pick in Stauskas that may or may not ever pan out and you have a lot of cap space flexibility. It's a risk that I believe would be worth taking.
I'm not expecting Goran Dragic to be in a Kings uniform in the near future. I think other teams will be more desperate and have better assets to pull off a trade than Sacramento. But it doesn't mean they shouldn't try. What does seem certain though is that Sacramento will be very active in trying to make a deal these next 48 hours and that Nik Stauskas seems to be at the center of it all.
It should be an interesting couple days.