Most NBA teams would love to employ Goran Dragic, so it isn’t surprising to see Marc Stein tweet that Indiana has talked to Phoenix about his availability.
From Stein: “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”
What makes this interesting is that Stein says the Pacers are trying to engage the Suns, and — presuming that Larry Bird is not delusional — that means he is actively considering giving up a big piece of Indiana’s core.
I’m not trying to fuel over-speculation and add hype to the already-out-of-control free agency hype fire, so take all this with a grain of salt. But what Indiana assets could possibly get the Suns to field a phone call about Dragic?
Let’s break it down.
Paul George, of course, but I would hazard he is the team’s one untouchable asset.
George Hill, unless a first-round pick (and probably even more) is included, would be seen by Phoenix as downgrading.
David West is naturally on any team’s wish list, but the age difference here means that Phoenix would have to love David. Then again, the fact that Dragic will be an unrestricted free agent after next year — and looking for a payday — would help Indiana at the bargaining table.
And maybe the Suns font office is looking at their locker room full of young, promising talent the same way Bird did a few years ago in Indiana? Maybe they see West as a potential leader who can help the team take the next step?
Who knows? But it is a reasonable conversation for two front offices to have, even if it seems a bit of a strange step to take this offseason for both sides.
The most obvious candidate might seem to be Lance Stephenson, who Indiana could move in a sign-and-trade. This theoretically could make a lot of sense, but there is reportedly zero interest in Lance from Phoenix.
That leaves Roy Hibbert. Given his awful play at times in the playoffs, his value has to be somewhat diminished, but some teams will have a brighter assessment of his future and look at the end of last season as an aberration. If Bird told a GM in January that he could have Roy for a player of Goran Dragic’s caliber, most would likely jump on that chance. Now? Views would be more split.
Then there is the idea that a team playing Phoenix’s uptempo style under Jeff Hornacek would want a lumbering rim protector who slows down the offense and doesn’t help the transition game. Doesn’t exactly pass the smell test.
Again, the fact that Dragic only has one more year on his deal could give Indiana some leverage. But Hibbert also has an opt-out clause on his deal next summer, so it’s apples to apples, more or less
Although the Suns completed a trade with the Pacers last offseason (Luis Scola for a pick, Gerald Green and Miles Plumlee), it’s hard to see how Indiana gets them to bite on anything involving Dragic.
Update: As suspected, nothing to see here, reports Sean Deveney of the Sporting News.
"Suns trading away Goran Dragic, possibly to the Pacers? Not so fast, says a source with knowledge of the talks. “No, no, no,” the source said. “Nothing to that. The team and Goran, they’re still committed to each other.”"