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Report: Lakers plan to offer Goran Dragic max contract in free agency, could trade for him first

Goran Dragic, Carlos Boozer

Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic, left, of Slovenia, and Los Angeles Lakers forward Carlos Boozer vie for a loose ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in Los Angeles.(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)


Goran Dragic hasn’t hidden his desire to explore the market as a free agent this summer, and his general manager admits the Suns are overloaded at guard.

Many ingredients are in place for a Dragic trade – including teams that want him.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Houston Rockets are plotting a renewed attempt to try to convince the Phoenix Suns to part with star guard Goran Dragic via trade before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, according to league sources.
The Los Angeles Lakers, who have also coveted Dragic for some time, are likewise presumed to be intent on testing the Suns’ resolve when it comes to their Slovenian point guard, since sources say L.A. plans to chase Dragic with an expected max four-year contract offer this summer

The Lakers are projected to be able to offer a contract starting at $19,027,800 and worth $81,248,706 over four years. But Dragic’s current team could offer $109,409,850 over five years, which is why the Lakers would consider trading for him now.

They probably won’t for a few reasons:

1. They already owe the Suns and Magic future first rounders and aren’t in position to give up more picks – especially when they could just sign Dragic outright this summer.

2. The Lakers want to keep their top-five pick this season, and Dragic would hurt their chances of doing that.

3. Even if Dragic helps them this season, the Lakers wouldn’t be good. Why expose Dragic to that environment now? They’d probably be better off getting a fresh start in free agency this summer.

But the Rockets – even though they have the solid Patrick Beverley – could use Dragic to help with their bid to advance deep into the playoffs. And if they got Dragic now, they’d have the inside track at re-signing him.

Of course, the Lakers want to avoid Houston holding that advantage, and the safest way to prevent it is trade for Dragic themselves. It’s a cycle of thinking that should drive up Phoenix’s asking price for Dragic, who’s well worth a max contract this summer – especially because the salary cap is set to spike in 2016.