Report: Celtics 'dark-horse contender' to acquire Goran Dragic
On Tuesday, Dragic told the Suns that he will not re-sign with the team when he becomes a free agent this summer. Dragic is reportedly unhappy about splitting playing time in Phoenix's backcourt with Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas. He gave the Suns a list of seven teams that he would re-sign with this summer, including the Lakers and Knicks.
According to Stein, Celtics president Danny Ainge is trying to trade for Dragic ahead of Thursday's deadline.
Sources say that the Celtics, in particular, are emerging as a dark-horse contender for Dragic, given the numerous future draft picks Boston president Danny Ainge has amassed in recent months to offer Phoenix as well as his strong relationship with Suns general manager Ryan McDonough.
If a team acquires Dragic before the trade deadline, it will own his Bird Rights and be able to offer him a five-year contract in free agency, while other teams would be limited to a four-year contract.
ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported the Lakers have also been trying to acquire Dragic, but were unwilling to remove the top-five protection on the 2015 draft pick that they owe the Suns.
Dragic averaged 20.3 points, 5.9 assists and 3.2 rebounds last season en route to winning the Most Improved Player Award and being named to the All-NBA Third Team. Following the addition of Thomas last summer, Dragic is averaging just 16.2 points, 4.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds in 33.4 minutes per game this season.
The Suns lost seven of their last 10 games before the All-Star break and have a half-game lead over the Thunder for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.
- Paul Palladino