The Phoenix Suns had three first-round draft picks, were in the conversation for LeBron James and could still land Kevin Love. Since they had the cap space and the ability to trade for more talent, they also acquired guard Isaiah Thomas from Sacramento.
While this summer has been one of acquisition for the Suns, according to Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com, Phoenix may have to spend their time next summer trying to re-sign a player they already have.
Coming off an All-NBA third team campaign, (Goran) Dragic figures to be the top perimeter player on the market if he opts out of his contract, which could make him max-worthy to a team in need of a point guard.
The 28-year-old Slovenian, who averaged 20.3 points and 5.9 assists last season, signed a four-year $30 million deal with the Suns in 2012. But he has a player option built into the deal after next season, which would allow him to opt out.
Pelton also cited Dragic’s 15.8 “wins above replacement player” projection, fifth amongst 2015 NBA free agents, as evidence that he deserves the max deal.
Given Dragic’s time served, the Suns would have a hefty price to pay. The salary cap for the NBA next season has been set at $63 million. After next season, Dragic will have played seven years in the league which means the Suns would have to pay him just below $17.7 million a year for a max deal. That’s more than double the $7.5 million he’s making now.
The decision of whether or not to keep Dragic is still 11 months away, and that’s assuming he opts out of the deal as well. If Dragic does back out, the Suns will have to weigh their options between paying the current face of the franchise, or utilizing their back log of point guards and let him go.