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Is the Time Right for the Phoenix Suns to Trade Goran Dragic?

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Taking a look at why it makes sense for the Suns to trade Goran Dragic.

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns are in an awkward position. They have a team in most scenarios good enough to compete to win at least one round in the NBA playoffs. Traveling to another era isn't even necessary; simply going from one conference to the other would suffice.

That's not how this works. I don't know if the Western Conference is the best group of teams ever from top to bottom, but a label like that isn't necessary to understand how absurdly good it is.

General manager Ryan McDonough's goal is to win an NBA Championship and the landscape to do this right now in the West is an incredibly difficult task. Trying to be in the next cycle two to three years down the road could possibly be the most logical path.

As good as the Golden State Warriors are right now, Andrew Bogut is 30 years old and injury prone.  Without Bogut the Warriors don't play elite defense and someone with his defensive skills is hard to find. What Golden State does to replace him to go with their great guards is an unknown and key to sustaining their relative level of play.

For the Memphis Grizzlies, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen are both 33. Marc Gasol will be 31 during next season. This is a veteran team that at some point is going to have to go through some sort of transition process.

The San Antonio Spurs have to re-center their team around Kawhi Leonard in the near future. Whether he's up to that role or they find players to keep him more as a complimentary piece is yet to be decided.

The Dallas Mavericks are in a similar situation with Dirk Nowitzki plus Monta Ellis (player option), Rajon Rondo and Tyson Chandler could all be free agents.

Dwight Howard's career-arc is sloping in the wrong direction for the Houston Rockets. Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul is turning 30 and DeAndre Jordan is an unrestricted free agent.

As long as the current iterations of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers stay in a somewhat similar state they should be good for years to come.

This leaves the Suns with the New Orleans Pelicans, Utah Jazz, Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings (yes I'm including them because of the presence of DeMarcus Cousins) as teams with potential to trend up as some of the teams above inevitably trend down.

When you consider this context as the most reasonable path to where you want to go -- questioning whether Dragic fits into the equation with the Suns has to be asked.

One of the keys, barring a stunning move for an absolute no brainer superstar player, to Phoenix making a jump is the development of Alex Len. How long it takes him to reach his next level is anybody's guess, but he's trending in the right direction. It's almost assured Dragic's peak will not coincide with the 21-year-old, second-year center's.

Dragic is going on 29 and is set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer. On the other hand you have Eric Bledsoe (25), Isaiah Thomas (26) and Markieff Morris (25) - the core of the team going forward in addition to Len - will all be 30 or under if it takes the 2013 fifth overall pick another four years to reach his full potential.

In that scenario Dragic would be 33 years old. The time frames might not matchup.

Sometime the right decisions are the hardest one's to make. The previous regime did many wrong things, but they parted ways with Suns legend Steve Nash when the proper time came. Dragic doesn't come to close to having the same cache, and despite him being an extremely solid player, Phoenix is once again at a point when the circumstances are right to move on from the fan favorite.