While this stalemate with Eric Bledsoe drags on, the Phoenix Suns other big star - and arguably the bigger star of the two - has no plans to drag out his own free agency decision next summer.
Phoenix Suns All-NBA guard Goran Dragic spoke to a reporter in Spain recently, and in response to playing in next summer's Eurobasket 2015 he spoke of his contract situation and how that should not impact his playing status.
"Got a very interesting position with the club. Guess I'll break the contract and sign a new one," he said. "As I spoke [to the Suns], I immediately during the first week, when the market opens, sign and I will therefore be calm."
When Goran talks of a very interesting position, he means that there is no easy way to give him a big raise on an extension of his current contract. As well, there's no provision for re-negotiation. If that were the case, we'd likely have been hearing more about Goran's new contract than Bledsoe's.
The way the CBA works, the Suns can only offer up to a 7.5% raise on new years after the expiration of his current $7.5 million/year contract, which is about half of Dragic's market value now. Dragic is likely to earn somewhere between $12-18 million per year in next contract, and the only way to get that is to opt out at his earliest opportunity which is next summer.
But that doesn't mean he wants to leave Phoenix, and he said as much to that reporter.
Music to Suns fans ears, right?
According to BSotS regular contributor Pece, Goran has previously mentioned this scenario in connection with a conversation with the Suns front office, but that was not mentioned in his particular translated report.
Goran has never been one to court drama, and he's always wanted to be in Phoenix. He considers Phoenix his NBA home. Two years ago, he re-signed with the Suns for slightly less money than (reportedly) Charlotte offered and for (reportedly) about the same money Houston was offering to bring him back.
The fun story is that, while the Suns front office was hosting rival free agent point guard Ray Felton in 2012, Suns managing partner Robert Sarver went out to the parking garage and called Goran personally to offer a deal. The two quickly came to an agreement right then and there, and Goran was back.
He loves Phoenix, loves the town, loves the fans and loves the organization.
So in true loyal fashion, he's apparently already made up his mind about next summer. He has a player option for the 2015-16 season for the meager $7.5 million - a number he thought was really good two years ago but now pales in comparison to his value.
Of course, this is dependent on the Suns making a fair market offer when the time comes. They've reportedly done so this summer with Eric Bledsoe, though the market turned out smaller than anyone expected. Yet they came up short with Channing Frye, who went to Orlando for a significantly higher sum than Phoenix wanted to pay.
Will they come up short on Dragic?
Likely not. With Isaiah Thomas as the only veteran signed to a long-term deal (Tucker's is only fully guaranteed for 2 seasons), it appears the Suns have re-upping Goran Dragic as one of their top priorities in the coming year.
Either way, Dragic won't drag it out. He will review offers and - in my personal opinion - will take the Suns offer as long as it's competitive with the market. I doubt Dragic even cares about whatever Bledsoe will/does get. It just needs to be roughly the same as anyone else is offering him in the opening days of free agency.
If another team offers $18 million per year, would Dragic re-sign for $15 million with the Suns? Maybe not. So the Suns will have to be competitive. It sounds like Dragic isn't worried about that, which means he's been assured by the front office that will be competitive.
"If you were in Zagreb, our group would have been at home and had a huge crowd," he said of next summer. "Of course, I'm tempted [by the] European Championship. Olympics are my biggest wish."
He's already been talking about competing next summer in Eurobasket 2015 to qualify for the Olympics in 2016, something Slovenia has never been able to do before. To do that, he has to be under NBA contract, replete with insurance in case he gets injured.