The Suns clearly drafted the better Bogdanovic.
The Suns clearly drafted the better Bogdanovic.
The Phoenix Suns have rejected a major trade offer for Goran Dragic, further indication that the Suns really do want to run out there next season with three slashing guards at their disposal unless their socks are blown off by an offer no one would refuse. Roy Hibbert is not that offer.
In the wake of Paul George's injury, the Indiana Pacers are looking to change up their team to add some pop to the offense. It appears they recently contacted the Phoenix Suns about acquiring third-team All-NBA player Goran Dragic, offering one of the league's best rim protectors in return.
Certainly, the Pacers are going to struggle to score with George and Lance Stephenson out of the lineup next year.
In the wake of Paul George's horrific injury, the Pacers will likely start Rodney Stuckey and C.J. Miles on the wing barring any upgrade to the roster. Miles can't dribble in the half-court, and Stuckey can't shoot. The Pacers were the league's worst non-Philly offense last season after February 1, and it's hard to see them sniffing league-average production on that end without both George and Lance Stephenson. No lineup without both of those guys logged more than 28 minutes last season, per NBA.com.
Even playing off the ball half of last season, Dragic put up career numbers with 20.3 points, 6.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game as the Suns best overall player.
Bright Side's own Jogi translated most of the video for us and decided that it seems to be a new offer made after Paul George's injury.
Jogi says he recalls another report out of Slovenia that Dragic actually got on the phone with the Suns front office when hearing about the offer through the media.
He did go on to say he feels flattered by the attention, Jogi says of the Ekipa interview, but would not want to change his environment as he feels great in Phoenix and has a lot of friends here.
He did say after the season is over, anything is possible, but he's not the caliber of player that has any say in trades.
"It's the NBA," Dragic said. "You're here today, and there tomorrow. It's business".
The Phoenix Suns are always going to be in "listen" mode when it comes to any of their players, but it's clear that in rejecting an offer of Roy Hibbert - a worthy candidate for 2013 Defensive Player of the Year as the league's best rim protector, as well as second team All-Defense in 2014 - the Suns value Goran Dragic quite highly.
The Suns have also, reportedly, rejected any and all trade offers for Eric Bledsoe as well. This sends a message that, quite possibly, the Suns are being honest about wanting to play all three point guards, along with Isaiah Thomas, heavy minutes in 2013-14 in an experiment to run other teams off the court.
The Suns can definitely use some full-time rim protection but as Lowe points out in the Grantland article above the NBA is evolving into a league where bigs like Hibbert are a dying breed and no one is clamoring to acquire them these days.
It's ironic that it was Dragic and the Suns who exposed the Pacers' and their #1 defense's inability to defend a slashing, floor-spacing game like the Suns ran. The Pacers were a league-best 33-7 before the Suns beat them twice in a week, and after that the Pacers just weren't the same team. The Suns forced Hibbert out of the paint by planting Channing Frye on the three-point line, which totally messed up the Pacers rotations and took Hibbert basically out of the game. In the end, the Pacers and Hibbert wilted badly in the playoffs.
While NBA fans wonder what will happen to Eric Bledsoe, Greg Monroe and other unsigned NBA free agents, many front offices must now turn their attention to the next crop of potential restricted free agents - the Class of 2011.
While the nation considers the futures of 2010 draftee holdouts Eric Bledsoe and Greg Monroe, who have both been offered $12 million per year or more to stay with their current team for several more years, NBA teams must also begin to navigate the extension waters of the 2011 NBA Draftees.
Each fall, an average of 5 rookie contract extensions are given out to players before beginning their fourth season. So far, only Kyrie Irving (5 years, $90 million) has signed an extension which would head off restricted free agency and inevitable discomfort and pitfalls that come with it.
A team can negotiate with their 2011 draftees from July 1 until October 31 to agree to a contract extension that kicks in next year. The young player would still earn his small-ish salary in 2014-15, then see the big jump in pay (up to potentially $15.8 million as a starting salary) next summer. Teams can agree to pay "the max", which would rise or fall next summer with the cap, or they can agree to a hard number now. Either way, the player is "off the market" next summer.
Here are the candidates for a rookie contract extension from the 2011 Draft.
Full stats too:
Those marked in green are those likely to be extended at their asking price in the next two months because they are foundational players to their team's future.
Generally, pre-fourth-year contract agreements are made only with foundational players whose team cannot see replacing with anyone else on the market next summer. Not all pre-fourth season extensions are "max" deals, but all are with players the team has no interest in losing.
Those marked in yellow are those players deserving of a long terms deal, but likely won't get it until restricted free agency next summer because their team won't want to tie up the cap space just yet.
As you can see from last year, only 5 players got the pre-fourth-year extension (and one of those teams - Milwaukee - is probably kicking themselves over it).
Full stats too:
These two graphs highlight the crapshoot that is the NBA Draft. Just 6 of the Top 10 players from the 2010 Draft were worthy of big contracts after four NBA seasons to prove themselves, let alone after their third.
And, only 46% (42 of 90) of first round picks in the 2008-2010 drafts earned long-term contracts after their fourth NBA season.
Even the Phoenix Suns, mired in contact negotiations with Eric Bledsoe, must consider what to do with 2011 draftees Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris as those players enter their final rookie-contract season and face the potential for restricted free agency next summer.
In contrast to Eric Bledsoe, who hadn't started many games before last season, the Suns know exactly what they have in the Morris brothers. There is of course the potential for further improvement next year, translating into more earning power next summer, but there's also the potential for regression as well. That's the unknown of rookie contract extension negotiations before the fourth season begins.
Yet, I don't see the Suns making much effort to extend the Morris brothers this fall for one big reason: As structured, their cap sheet would allow for a max free agent next summer as long as the Morris brothers and Gerald Green become free agents. The Suns would prefer the flexibility afforded by cap holds on replaceable players rather than guaranteed contracts.
In this increasingly fungible NBA, expect most teams to wait until summer (and restricted free agency) to seal the deal with their 2011 extension candidates.