If you needed any more reason to covet the Phoenix Suns signing Bogdan Bogdanovic this summer, here's this gem from Euroleague
After this hilariously bad year where the best lob-dunker in the NBA, Tyson Chandler, had to watch lob attempt after lob attempt sail out of bounds or off the back board, it's nice to see someone actually able to throw up a lob pass.
Sign him up, Suns!
Suns GM Ryan McDonough said on ArizonaSports radio recently the team would work toward that goal very quickly this summer.
"We're going to go meet with Bogdan after the season," McDonough said. "He does have ways to get out of his contract with Fenerbahce and come to the NBA. We'll present a plan for him about how we envision his role with the Suns."
"I think the exciting part for us," McDonough added, "is that he has produced at a high level in Europe and also at the World Championships...He does have a very high level of experience. In terms of coming to the NBA, he'd obviously be a rookie by NBA standards, but if we are able to bring him over this year -- which we'd like to do if we can -- then at 24 years old, we think he'd be one of the more ready-made guys to plug in and be able to hopefully play right away."
Adding him to the Suns backcourt mix would bring much needed length and shooting. Bogdanovic is 6'6", but with a very long 6'11" wingspan. He's got quick feet and has a reputation as a good shooter (40% on threes), slasher and defender.
While there are ways to get out of his contract this summer, Bogdan knows that his NBA salary would be severely limited if he committed this year.
Since he was drafted in the first round (27th pick) in the 2014 Draft, Bogdan is held to the rookie salary scale if he signs with the Suns before July 2017. The rookie scale limits him to a 2-1-1 contract commensurate with the 27th pick in the draft, which is about $1.2 million this summer, with minimal raises for three years. The first two years are guaranteed, with the team getting the exclusive option to extend him two more years. Not until 2019 would he be eligible to make more than $2 million per year because of his late first-round pick status.
Rookie salaries for every slot in the draft are pre-determined for the entire life of the CBA, rather than being a % of the total salary cap. So as the salary cap rises to the stratosphere (from about $50 million per year when the CBA was written to about $100 million in 2017), rookie contracts do not change.
Alternately, if Bogdanovic waits until summer 2017, he will no longer be limited to the rookie scale and could sign at market rate. Remember, Nikola Mirotic of the Bulls waited three years after being drafted and signed a mid-level veteran deal ($5 million per year). In summer 2017, a mid-level veteran deal might be more like $10 million per year.
It's a risk either way for him, though.
This year, he would be joining a young team with low expectations that would have all summer to set the roster and find him a role. Also, at 24 years old this coming season, he would still be considered "young" in the NBA and given appropriate time to adjust to a completely different game.
In a quick DM with the great Mike Schmitz, who does those incredible prospect profile videos for DraftExpress.com and The Vertical, I was told this week that Bogdanovic would still rank in the 20-30 range of the draft this year if he were coming out now rather than 2014. He's not necessarily a star, but he profiles as a very servicable player.
But one more year could make a difference in his prospects.
Next year, he would be coming to the NBA at 25 and two years removed from being named back-to back Euroleague Rising Star of the year. If his role on Fenerbace remains the same or declines for some reason, or if he gets injured, he may not have much more bargaining room as a mid-career player player.
Also, if he doesn't sign this summer, the Suns would be more likely to fill his role with one of their four picks in the top 34 of the draft.
It's a risk either way.
Let's hope for selfish fan reasons that he decides to come over now, and then we can spend all summer debating whether he's the next Manu Ginobili.