Phoenix Suns GM McDonough: Goran Dragic situation was ‘unprofessional’ on player’s end

Feb 20, 2015, 11:48 PM | Updated: Feb 21, 2015, 12:05 am
LISTEN: Ryan McDonough, Suns general manager

Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough absolutely disputes the claims made by Goran Dragic that questioned the team’s front office.

Talking with Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FMFriday, he said the team does things with the highest degree of class and integrity, pointing out how players have asked them to select them in the draft while others were more than happy to re-sign with the team last offseason.

“We view ourselves as a very open and honest front office who has great relationships with our players and treats them with the utmost respect when we’re here,” he said. “And in turn, I think we just expect that respect back from the players. When somebody says something that disrespectful and, we feel, inaccurate, we feel like we have to respond to it.”

Dragic’s comments about being lied to by the front office and said he lost trust in them clearly hit a nerve with McDonough and the organization. Earlier in the day, president of basketball operations Lon Babby offered his own thoughts on the matter.

That it became as public and vitriolic as it did was, well, shocking.

“I have not been in one that was this unprofessional and this public,” McDonough said of the trade demand and comments surrounding it. “Sometimes things go wrong between a player and a team — like with any workplace environment, it’s not always perfect — but usually even if it’s a bad situation it’s handled privately, confidentially.

“Occasionally if there’s a player who is disgruntled he’ll come to management or his agent will talk to the front office and everybody works together to try to do what’s best. The team tries to do what’s best for them, the player tries to do what’s best for him and usually it’s handled pretty quietly.”

McDonough added that he thought it unusual that a player like Dragic, who had given them no indication that he had no intention of re-signing with the team, went about things the way he did.

“For him to go out and let us know that, I believe on Tuesday, and then to publicly say in 24 hours he had lost all faith and trust in us, basically implied that we lied to him, I thought that was pretty low and uncalled for and basically untrue.”

The GM acknowledged that the team knew Dragic was not pleased with his role on the team, a frustration that dated back to before last season after the Suns traded for guard Eric Bledsoe. Things worked out OK, though, as Dragic went on to have a career-best season and Phoenix won 48 games, narrowly missing out on a postseason berth.

Every move made since then, McDonough said, was made in an effort to make the team better, even though it may have displeased the 2014 All-NBA Third Team selection.

“I guess I’ll put it this way,” McDonough said. “There are some players who look at whatever is best for the team and are willing to sacrifice and are willing to play any role asked as long as it leads to winning — and a guy like P.J. Tucker comes to mind in that regard.

“And then there are other players who would like to win but that win if it’s on their terms and they can play the role they want and get their touches and get money — get the most money at the end of the day. That’s what’s most important to him. I just wish guys would say that, just tell the truth and say that instead of saying we’re liars and dishonest.”

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