After having a career year in 2013-14, Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic was named to the All-NBA third-team in addition to winning the league’s Most Improved Player Award. Dragic averaged a career-high 20.3 points per game on 50% from the field and 40% from three, and led the Suns to a surprisingly fantastic season.
Dragic is having a very stellar 14-15 campaign, and his solid play will make him a very hot commodity on the free agent market this July. Dragic, 28, shares the backcourt in Phoenix with Isaiah Thomas and Eric Bledsoe, two super talented point guards who are capable of shouldering a major load on any given night. Dragic, who said he’s happy as a member of the Suns organization, told Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News he plans to explore his options in free agency this summer as he could potentially become a primary piece for any NBA franchise.
Shortly before July 1, Dragic will opt out of his $7.5 million player option with the Suns to become an unrestricted free agent. Then, Dragic will learn how much his third-team All-NBA honor, 2014 Most Improved Player award and crafty playmaking will attract on the open market, something he said will force him to make “the toughest decision in my life.”
“I’m really happy here in Phoenix and they have given me everything I have ever dreamed,” Dragic said in an interview with Los Angeles Newspaper Group. “I feel like I’m at home here. But I’ll explore my options.”
Would one of those options include the Lakers?
“It’s not just L.A. I think it’s everybody,” Dragic said. “Back in Europe, there are bad teams financially and teams that aren’t organized. But every team in the NBA is a good organization.”
It was reported back in December that multiple teams were looking to trade for Dragic, and that Phoenix was willing to listen to offers for the former second-round pick to gauge what it would take financially to retain Dragic in the summer. In addition to the trade rumors, Dragic has stated how he’s genuinely intrigued by the Knicks due to the presence of Phil Jackson in the front office.
Dragic’s play may warrant a maximum contract, and the Suns were reluctant to give Eric Bledsoe such a deal this past summer. It wasn’t until late September that Phoenix and Bledsoe reached agreement on a five-year, $70 million contract. It’ll be interesting to see if the Suns handle Dragic’s contract situation with the same resistance they approached Bledsoe’s with. Clinching a postseason berth may sway Phoenix to cough up the big bucks Dragic most likely covets, and the Suns currently sit at 24-18 which is good enough for eighth in the Western Conference.
Phoenix cannot get complacent in their hunt for the postseason, as the Oklahoma City Thunder currently trail the Suns by three games for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. The Suns will look to extend their lead over the Thunder when they take on the lowly Los Angeles Lakers tonight at 10 PM ET on TNT.