Phoenix Suns: Having Traded Steve Nash, Suns Set Their Sights on Goran Dragic
The Phoenix Suns have announced their intentions to rebuild their franchise with young talent.
Nash's replacement may already be in place, as the Suns have reportedly signed 26-year-old point guard Goran Dragic to a four-year, $30 million contract with incentives, Foxnews.com reports (h/t Associated Press).
Coincidentally, Dragic was Steve Nash's backup point guard in Phoenix between 2008 and 2011. He struggled as Steve Nash's replacement in the 2010-11 season. In just under 17 minutes per game, he shot only 42 percent from the field and his assist-to-turnover ratio was 3-to-2.
Midway through that same season, the Suns traded Dragic to the Houston Rockets for another point guard, Aaron Brooks.
This past season, Dragic flourished as a Rocket. Dragic replaced starting point guard Kyle Lowry for the last 14 games of the season, as Lowry was sidelined due to a bacterial infection.
As a starter, Dragic averaged 18 points and eight assists. The Rockets were still in playoff contention at the time, thereby indicating that Dragic can perform well in meaningful games.
What changed about Dragic's game? In an interview with CBS.com earlier this year, Dragic stated that he just needed starter's minutes.
The game, there is maybe a different adjustment than when I was coming from the bench. You have to do something good in those short minutes, but now when you have more minutes you can explore all the options and see what’s there and not there and just try to make a play.
During the offseason, Dragic was demanding a contract worth close to $10 million a year, a number the Rockets were unwilling to meet. There have been no reports that any team thus far has been willing to pay him an eight-figure yearly salary.
The Phoenix Suns have one of the slimmest team salaries in the NBA at $31 million. They were in the perfect position to offer a figure close to that which Dragic demanded.
The team was undoubtedly looking for a young point guard with potential to be the next Steve Nash. For the immediate future, who better than Nash's former understudy? (It's also worth noting that the Suns drafted Kendall Marshall, arguably the best collegiate passer in years, in the 2012 draft.)
The Suns have just made an ambitious investment in the young point guard.
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