What figured to be an interesting offseason for the Phoenix Suns just got a little more so Thursday.
ESPN NBA insider Marc Stein tweeted the following concerning Suns 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
Something to keep an eye on, though, with Indy known to covet an upgrade at PG and stubborn perception Suns can't afford Bledsoe AND Dragic— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 3, 2014
Stein's colleague at ESPN, Zach Lowe, added this:
Pacers have little on the fringes to entice Phoenix on Dragic.Their interest, per @ESPNSteinLine, might hint at bigger discussions.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) July 3, 2014
The interest in Dragic around the league is understandable. The 28-year-old Slovenian point guard is coming off a career year, during which he averaged 20.3 points and 5.9 assists per game. He was named the NBA's Most Improved Player and landed on the All-NBA Third Team.
His contract status is also interesting to note. Dragic is on the books for the upcoming season at an affordable $7.5 million but has a player option for 2015-16. Considering what other guards around the league have pulled in this offseason, it's easy to speculate that Dragic will opt out following next season and cash in on a big and deserved pay day.
However, with the Suns still facing the possibility of matching a max contract offer to their own restricted free agent point guard, Eric Bledsoe, logic says Phoenix couldn't afford to pay both players.
The bigger discussions, as alluded to by Lowe above, might center around Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. The four-time All-Star is about two and a half months older than Dragic, and is in the final year of a contract that will pay him $13 million this season.
Indiana could be trying to include the Celtics in a future deal for Dragic, because they lack the assets to complete the trade on their own.
Trading for Rondo and his expiring contract doesn't make much sense for the Suns, who have oodles of salary cap space. They don't fit the profile of a team that is in the market to acquire expiring contracts.
Furthermore, if they were to acquire Rondo and keep him, he'd likely command a similar salary to what Dragic would should he opt out following the 2014-15 campaign.
Sean Deveney of Sporting News wrote Thursday morning that a source with knowledge of the discussions between the Suns and Pacers shot down the rumors.