Morning shootaround — Sept. 22

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Report: Suns hoping to add another Dragic | New NBPA prez faces full schedule of duties | Could OKC’s Jackson benefit from Bledsoe’s next deal?

No. 1: Report: Suns hoping to add Zoran Dragic — The Phoenix Suns already have one set of brothers — Markieff and Marcus Morris — on the roster, and may soon be adding another set to it. According to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, the Suns are hoping to land Zoran Dragic, the younger brother of their star point guard, Goran Dragic. Zoran Dragic has to be bought out of his contract with his Spanish team, but the Suns are considered the early favorites to pick him up:

The Suns have become the leader in the pursuit of shooting guard Zoran Dragic, the younger brother of Suns star guard Goran Dragic. One other NBA team remains in serious pursuit but negotiations for a contract and a buyout from Dragic’s Spanish club have progressed to the point that a deal could be finalized early this week.

Dragic, 25, has been talking to Phoenix about a two-year contract or a three-year deal with the third year as an option for the player or team.

After joining Goran for the Slovenian national team’s run to the World Cup quarterfinals, Zoran reported to training camp with Unicaja Malaga, his Spanish club that had signed him to a contract extension in July. The extension included a NBA buyout for about $1.1 million, of which the Suns can contribute up to $600,000. A NBA contract might have to exceed $2 million for Zoran to leave for the NBA, a goal he openly has shared.

Realgm.com reported early Sunday that Dragic was in advanced negotiations with an NBA team.

Zoran Dragic’s addition would give the Suns 14 guaranteed contracts, leaving one regular-season roster spot open for restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe. Signing both would give the Suns seven guards on the roster, although Gerald Green is a small forward too.

Zoran Dragic is a 6-foot-5 guard with aggressive defense, a familiar attacking style in transition and a developing perimeter shot. In seven World Cup games, he averaged 14.1 points and 4.0 rebounds in 26.3 minutes per game with 50 percent shooting overall and 43.3 percent shooting on 3-pointers.

***

No. 2: NBPA’s new president faces must address future labor concerns Michele Roberts was tabbed as the National Basketball Players’ Association president just a few short months ago and now that she’s fully entrenched in the job, has several big topics to address. From the recent comments by various members of the Atlanta Hawks’ front office to the new TV deal for the NBA (and the hefty cost accompanying it) and more, Roberts will be busy. But perhaps her biggest issue may be what to do about a potential lockout that may be looming on the horizon. Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe has more:

She is inheriting an uncomfortable situation in Atlanta where a general manager uttered racially motivated insults about Luol Deng; the commissioner’s office wants to address the age-limit rule and raise the minimum age of entering the NBA Draft to 20; and there is speculation the NBPA will opt out of the collective bargaining agreement in 2017, which is likely because of the new television contract that is expected to earn the league billions in 2016.

Former executive director Charles Grantham said it will be significant responsibility for the neophyte executive director.

“The biggest challenge for [the NBPA] is the [potential] lockout,” said Grantham, who teaches at New York University and Seton Hall. “The question is for the last three times, there has been probably 15 or 16 givebacks or concessions that [the players’ union] made over this period of time that puts them at the bottom.

“It starts with preparation and being prepared for this thing [a lockout] that we all know is coming. After three successive collective bargaining negotiations from management side, all that began with the [1998] lockout and put the union in a concessionary bargaining position. The day is gone when you used to be able to tell players to save money. You can’t do that.”

The NBPA made several key concessions during past negotiations, according to Grantham, including the implementation of the rookie wage scale, the escrow system, and that the court system could not be the final decider for the CBA. He added that the NBPA conceded on those issues because the players couldn’t withstand an extended lockout, leaving them at the mercy of the owners.

“One, the first challenge is again to get back to the concept that it’s got to be an institutional response — how does the institution create the protection for the players?” he said. “[Roberts’s] challenge is to rally the troops and unite the troops and get them into a position of understanding the business side of the sport, which is always the most difficult part because our players are very active playing in their careers and if they’re asked to do two things at once . . . [and] we expect that they know everything else about the collective bargaining agreement.”

***

No. 3: OKC’s Jackson could benefit richly from Bledsoe’s next move — If you missed it Friday, a report surfaced that the Minnesota Timberwolves are ready to offer Phoenix Suns free-agent point guard Eric Bledsoe a four-year, $63 million deal. Bledsoe — who would have to be acquired by the Wolves via a sign-and-trade deal — has been seeking a big payday all summer from Phoenix, but hasn’t had any luck getting it. If he and the Suns do work out a deal and Bledsoe gets his big payday, a fellow young point guard, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Reggie Jackson, could see his asking price rise significantly, too. Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman has more:

The player whose contract situation Reggie Jackson has said he is paying close attention to this summer could be about to get paid.

And if Eric Bledsoe signs a maximum contract with Minnesota, which has reportedly put that offer on the table, it could have a direct impact on the future of the Thunder’s sixth man.

Jackson has made it clear that he desires a starting role, while also suggesting that he seeks the salary that comes along with that.

The Thunder has until Oct. 31 to find some sort of middle ground, and if no extension is agreed upon by that date Jackson will become a restricted free agent next summer.

No matter how it plays out, the Wolves just armed Jackson and his representation with more information about the type of money available to big, explosive young point guards on the open market.

It’s a development that boosts Jackson’s value but inspires less confidence that a deal with the Thunder will be consummated before the upcoming deadline.

Their production through their respective first three seasons, when both backed up All-Star point guards, is nearly identical. Jackson averaged 1.3 more points. Bledsoe averaged 0.3 more assists. Jackson averaged 0.1 more rebounds. Bledsoe averaged 0.5 more steals. Their field goal percentages were an identical 43.1 percent.

***

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Pistons GM Jeff Bower thinks the team’s offseason additions will help the team’s shooting … Two years after he was drafted, Greek star Kostas Papanikolaou is ready to take his NBA chances with the Rockets … How will reigning Rookie of the Year winner Michael Carter-Williams look in his second season? … It doesn’t look too good for John Wall to be an All-Star again this season

20 Comments

  1. Max says:

    If Bledsoe takes the Max in Money to go with Timberwolves, then he can save the bucks, because to live through a winter in Minnesota one can bank their money. Too cold to go outside!!~ Leave Sunny Arizona for Minnesota???For sure not a “Snowbird”!

  2. lonnie says:

    you have to remember that Perkins an Collisons contracts are coming up so it wouldn’t be bad to sign Jackson to a better deal an to add Westbrook at the 2 will allow Jackson to set the offense up which it runs smoother in his hands but I wouldn’t over pay for him to stay

  3. lonnie says:

    You have to remember that Perkins and Collisons big contracts are about expire, so it wouldn’t hurt to pay Jackson an put him in the starting lineup for what they need he is the best fit at point and Westbrook at shooting guard. The trade they did with harden all because nobody wanted to trade for Perkins who has not helped them since he got there an they should kept C

  4. Hak of howard2 says:

    Who is the other team looking for gragic hope houston

  5. Burninmode says:

    Two Dragics in one team? That’ll be better than Brldsoe-Dragic combo for the Suns. Where’s lbj by the way?

  6. Bledsoe is probably the only free agent left on the market that is a young impact player on both sides of the ball. He is a very solid defender. If the suns let him walk it would be a mistake for a young team that needs young talent that can grow into all stars eventually. He is more experienced than reggie jackson. And with dragic and bledsoe they have two guards who can rotate with another guard and play both point an shooting guard. I dont see reggie jackson in the same light as bledsoe. He is talented, but I do not see him as being nearly as good on the defensive end. But he will be a solid rotation player in the top 8 of really any team in the nba. Even if the suns dont want to pay bledsoe, they better at least do a sign and trade and get something back. Clearly the twolves see value in Bledsoe, otherwise the offer would not be there. More teams would make offers, but after the love/wiggins deal the twolves were able to create the cap room necessary to bid on more free agents. Most likely they told bledoes to wait until after that deal before agreeing to anything via his agent.

    • Qq says:

      He’s not worth max money. The suns will never cap out to keep bledsoe. That 48 mill in my opinion was a generous deal from the suns and bledsoe is delusional for not accepting it. Dragic is the best player on the suns, and they should use their cap space on him instead of bledsoe.

  7. jdub455 says:

    that would be really cool! lol.. 2 bros in 1 team…

  8. jake s. says:

    Could Jackson start for a team like the Bucks or the Pistons? Sure. Will he? NO. His position is the most saturated in the league. Either the Thunder will start Jackson and keep him moderately well-paid, or they will overpay him and have him come off the bench. Ginobili could have easily started for the spurs, and he has 4 championships because he made the sacrifice. If Jackson decides to stay he will get paid well and his team will win at least one, probably two or three championships. If Jackson decides to leave he will get paid well. He is just trying to project his value to the media to boost his price tag for the Thunder.

  9. Carl says:

    I have no idea who told Eric Bledsoe that he was worth $16 million a year. He hasn’t even shown that he can be healthy enough to last for over half a season and he demands this. Kyle Lowry got $12 million a year and Eric Bledsoe might not even be worth that if he can’t stay healthy. He’s full of himself.

  10. Fefe (Nets) says:

    Some like me were already feeling that the Suns would try to lure Zoran Dragic into their squad after his strong performance at the FIBA World Cup!
    Would be great to have the Dragics together!

  11. Scisca says:

    Bledsoe isn’t worth remotely close to max money.

  12. AXIONISTA says:

    BLEDSEO $63 MILLION DEAL? WTF!!!

  13. kek says:

    It doesn’t look too good for John Wall to be an All-Star again ??? it doesnt look good for the best point guard in the east to make the allstar team? what kind of jibber jabber is that?:D

  14. Gillsy says:

    The problem with OKC is that they will need to offload Jackson this year. Cause its sounding like Harden all over again. Just with a player with less upside.

    • randomguy says:

      Haha trying to compare Jackson to Harden is laughable. Jackson has far less talent and less potential, though more willingness to play defense. Bledsoe’s max offer is just a sign of the T-Wolves desperation for relevance, and if players use it as a bargaining point, we will see which teams are going to throw themselves under a bus a la the Knicks and Magic.

      • ml carr says:

        Excuse me. I beg to differ. Jackson is AWESOME and if the OKC make one more mistake by letting this future all-star get away, I’m going to be done as an OKC fan. We are STILL reeling from the loss of James Harden.

    • hnic says:

      True, but Reggie does play the other end of the floor Harden doesn’t like 🙂 This is the beginning of the end for the Thunder. Lose a piece here, lose a piece there. Aloha KD

    • OKC says:

      That’s not necessarily true actually. When we unloaded Harden it allowed us to stay under the salary cap and maintain some flex room, but after this year between KD, Westbrook, and Serge’s contracts ballooning we will be going over the salary cap no matter what so it’s looking like we were putting it off as long as possible but that it is inevitable in the next few seasons.

      So the difference this time is if we sign Jackson to more money than we will still be over the cap either way so it makes more sense for us to reach out and keep him this time. What makes the situation similar though is that both players were seeking a starting role on a team that it didn’t make sense for them to start on. There is of course a chance we will see Reggie start at the 2 or Russell at the 2 like we saw in the playoffs last season.

      P.S. I know everyone loves to put the Thunder down for trading Harden, but we actually got a lot out of that trade including our solution to our center problems, Steven Adams, and our future bench leaders in Lamb and McGary.

      • Hecker says:

        You don’t need cap room to get better players in OKC coz as long as Westbrook plays like a superhero, and KD being the scorer, the other 3 will not even have the chance to touch the ball anyway… speaking of “teamwork” lol