However, Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski said the Suns are determined to re-sign Dragic, and the two sides will meet on Tuesday to discuss the situation. Beck followed up his original report by confirming Phoenix's desire to keep the guard, but concern about him leaving in the summer has led to trade talks.
Dragic is expected to decline a $7.5 million player option for next season, which will make him an unrestricted free agent. The 28-year-old is in line for a big raise, and rumors have already been flying that the Los Angeles Lakers are willing to offer him a max contract. The New York Knicks also need a point guard and will have a boatload of cap space to work with in free agency.
Phoenix has a glut of guards on the roster after extending Eric Bledsoe and signing Isaiah Thomas in the summer. The Suns also have Tyler Ennis and Archie Goodwin waiting in the wings, which would soften the blow of dealing Dragic. Phoenix is seeking a first-round pick in any deal, and the Houston Rockets are reportedly interested in getting the guard back.
The Suns can afford to give Dragic a big contract this offseason, as there is only about $53.4 million of guaranteed money on the books, per BasketballInsiders.com. The real question is the fit of the roster, as noted by Dave King at Bright Side Of The Sun:
The real problem is long term fit of the current pieces on the roster. The team is regressing with three-point-guard rotations lately, culminating in losing 5 of 6 games (and 7 of 10 overall). When you can't effectively play your three best players together, that's not a good roster balance.
The real problem appears to be that, while playing three points at once seems like a potential passing and scoring bonanza, the three points the Suns accumulated are not good enough at playmaking to make this thing work. If you had one or two pass-first types in there, the passing game could be tremendous. But you don't. None of Dragic, Eric Bledsoe or Isaiah Thomas is built to consistently make plays for someone else first, with scoring a secondary option.
King notes that Dragic loves Phoenix, but his preference is to play point guard and not shooting guard. That's not always possible when playing with Bledsoe and Thomas, and Dragic may decide he wants to go somewhere he can be the man at the point. If that's truly the case, the Suns may have to pull the trigger on a trade, even if it's not the preferred outcome.
SB Nation presents: Awesome NBA trades that SHOULD happen, but never will.
Jazz plans to keep Kanter
Utah will listen to offers for the 22-year-old, who's set to be a restricted free agent in the summer. However, Kanter is still reportedly in the team's long-term plans, despite the emergence of backup center Rudy Gobert.
Kanter has been productive this season, averaging 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds, and SLC Dunk points out that he has quite the resume for a 22-year-old. Kanter has started in every game but one this year, and he's still playing 27.1 minutes per game.
Kanter continues to struggle on the defensive end and can sometimes be a black hole on offense, but the Jazz are mostly happy with his progress and believe they can "smooth over their center's bruised feelings."
Trail Blazers eyeing Chandler, Afflalo
Chandler is the preferred target, and the Blazers reportedly "will not hesitate" to deal Thomas Robinson with another player and a first-round pick in order to acquire the small forward.
However, Grantland's Zach Lowe says the Nuggets are seeking multiple first-rounders for both Chandler and Afflalo. If Denver doesn't lower those demands, that could pose a snag in a deal.
Even if Portland can't find a deal to its liking, Dave Deckard at Blazer's Edge feels that standing pat is a viable option, and it's okay not to make a move just to make a move.
O'Neal not ready to play
Jermaine O'Neal has been working out in hopes of making a return to the NBA, and O'Neal had been linked to the Dallas Mavericks. However, O'Neal released a statement on Instagram stating he's not ready to get back on the hardwood:
Part 1. For the people that knows me know that I'm not a huge social media guy but I do use it when I need to express my feelings about something or about certain parts of my life. So saying that, I want to first thank every family member, friend, and fan that has showed me sooooo much love and support the last 7 weeks thru my process of trying to see if I could get thru a very difficult period of getting my mind and body in shape in a very short period of time. I also want to thank all the teams that have showed so much interest and patients with me thru this process. When I decided in late December to look at the option on playing again I knew it was probably going to be one of my greatest challenges considering that I hadn't done any basketball training in the previous 5 months. But I was fully committed to taking on the challenge by investing a lot of time to traveling abroad to get the process started and dedicating my life to training multiple times a day for 7 weeks. Ive learned a lot thru this process from a physical set back, to reconnecting with something that I loved for such a big part of my life, to being incredibly sore everyday but still pushing forward, but most importantly feeling if I was doing the right thing by my family by trying to go back to playing basketball and sacrificing more of their time with me. So as you can imagine it was a very emotional time lol. But the best part of this process was walking out of the gym after every workout knowing that I could still play the game after 18 long years and hearing the teams that seen me workout all agreeing with that statement. Every team that wanted me to sign are all championship contending teams and in order to except their offer i need to be 100% ready to go physically and mentally from the time that I sign that contract with no room for error beyond that point. I don't feel like I'm at that position now with just 7 weeks of training and I'm not comfortable making that commitment at this point. The issue for me is timing and things feeling right. I'm a true believer of signs and listening and understanding life.
Even with the imminent signing of Amar'e Stoudemire, the Mavericks still had interest in bringing in O'Neal to help bolster the frontcourt, according to Alex Kennedy of BasketballInsiders.com. But for now, that's not in the cards.