Phoenix Suns Trade Grades: The Dragon Leaves Suns For Heat

Oct 29, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic (1) against the Los Angeles Lakers during the home opener at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 29, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic (1) against the Los Angeles Lakers during the home opener at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2015 NBA trade deadline has come and gone. Bodies litter the floor, carnage is everywhere and my head hurts. For Phoenix Suns fans, their hearts probably hurt as well.

The Suns were one of the league’s more active teams today, virtually pouring gasoline on the NBA trade deadline and lighting it on fire. A fitting analogy, since Goran Dragic was the main domino to fall in three separate trades that Suns general manager Ryan McDonough manufactured.

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It’s time to take a look at how he did, especially after the acquisition of Isaiah Thomas this past summer made Dragic feel unwanted and all but pushed him out the door.

That door wound up leading to South Beach, where the Dragon will take his fire in an effort to make the Heat contenders in the Eastern Conference. Heading into the deadline, Dragic had listed Miami as one of his preferred trade destinations, along with the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers.

The Suns had also been in talks with interested suitors like the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and Boston Celtics. Here’s a look at the deal that ended up going down:

Phoenix Suns receive: Danny Granger, John Salmons, 2017 first round pick, 2021 first round pick
Miami Heat receive: Goran Dragic, Zoran Dragic
New Orleans Pelicans receive: Norris Cole, Shawne Williams, Justin Hamilton

Originally, the deal being floated by Pat Riley‘s side (according to Heat beat writer Ira Winderman) was Josh McRoberts, Chris Andersen, Norris Cole and two future first round draft picks. The Suns still got their draft picks in the end, but avoided taking on McRoberts’ contract and unhelpful acquisitions like Birdman and Cole.

For the Heat, this is a great deal. Yes, they gave up two future first rounders, but they got a quality point guard, the missing piece to turning the Heat into a playoff contender. Miami will most likely be able to re-sign him this summer as well.

As for the Suns, that probably does little to console fans with the pain of losing fan favorite for the likes of Granger and Salmons. Salmons will be waived, while Granger could work as a veteran fit or another player to be waived.

Granger was a star with the Indiana Pacers until a series of injuries derailed his career. In his best season, Granger Danger averaged 25.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game…but that was back in 2008-09. From 2008-09 to 2010-11, Granger averaged more than 20 points per game.

This season with the Heat, the banged up Granger was averaging 6.3 points per game while shooting 35.7 percent from three-point range. In December he shot an impressive 47.5 percent from downtown, but that number plummeted to 25.9 percent in January.

If anyone can resurrect Granger’s body and help him salvage what’s left of his career, it’d be the Suns’ warlock training staff. He’d probably be able to help as a three-point threat off the bench, but even if he doesn’t work out, he’s on an extremely cheap contract that will help the Suns preserve their cap space. Win-win.

Essentially, the biggest acquisitions here are the draft picks. The 2017 pick is top-seven protected and the 2021 first rounder is unprotected, which could wind up being pretty valuable. Then again, that’s SIX YEARS FROM NOW, so it’s kind of hard to get too excited about it at the moment.

For most Suns fans, that haul won’t make up for the pain of losing Dragic. In my list of possible trade destinations for Dragic, I listed the Heat but only on the terms that Luol Deng was included in the deal. Riley certainly worked a bit of magic to procure Dragic without having to give him up.

But if Dragic was going to leave anyway, getting two future firsts for him in a move that will clear cap room for this summer is a positive return. Best of luck to you, Mr. Dragon.

Grade: C+

Next: Phoenix Suns Trade Grades: 3-Team Deal For Brandon Knight

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