Suns’ Secret Stash: Bogdan Bogdanovic

Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Bogdan Bogdanovic (Serbia) poses for a photo with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number twenty-seven overall pick to the Phoenix Suns in the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Bogdan Bogdanovic (Serbia) poses for a photo with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number twenty-seven overall pick to the Phoenix Suns in the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

The Phoenix Suns have four of the top 34 picks in this years NBA Draft. Whenever teams have either a lot of picks or enough players already on their roster, they often turn to a strategy referred to as the “Draft and Stash”.

“Draft and Stash” refers to the process of drafting a player who is already under contract with a team in another country and “stashing” them there. Instead of bringing a player onto the roster immediately, the team will allow them to continue to develop and play overseas while maintaining their rights for if/when they come play in the NBA.

This allows teams to invest in a player who may have a lot of potential, but isn’t interested in playing in the NBA or ready for the rigors of the NBA without having them take up a roster spot and count against the team’s salary cap. The Suns are considering this strategy with the 28th and 34th picks; it would not the first time Phoenix would have used a late 1st round pick this way.

The Suns used this strategy in 2014 when they drafted a Serbian shooting guard named Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Phoenix has drafted European players before, however, each of the last three times, the Suns ended up trading the player on Draft day. Bogdanovic could be the first player the Suns have ever drafted, stashed and then actually played for the team.

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Bogdanovic will be a 24-year-old rookie if the Suns can negotiate a buyout with Bogdan’s current team, Fenerbahce Istanbul of the Turkish Basketball Super League. His play for Fenerbahce was excellent, leading his team to the Turkish Super Cup while being named Super Cup MVP. This qualified Bogdan’s team for the Euroleague Championships, an even larger stage for him to show off his talent.

Bogdan didn’t let Suns fans or his team down, despite a EuroLeague Championship Finals loss to CSKA Moscow. In the first game of the tournament, Bogdan finished with 18 points (9 points in overtime).

Unfortunately, Bogdan’s hot streak came to an end with only six points in the Finals. Regardless of his Finals performance though, Bogdan’s season was filled with accomplishments. His success is a continuation of the success he was having in the Serbian League where he was a 4-time Serbian League Champion and 2014 Serbian Finals MVP. Bogdan isn’t just playing; he is making an impact on every team he plays for. The Suns hope that trend continues when they “hopefully” bring him to the NBA later this year.

The only real question is, will the Suns be able to convince Bogdan, his agent, and his team, it is time for him to come to the NBA? Suns general manager Ryan McDonough told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM in March the Suns approach to bring him over. “We’ll present a plan for him about how we kind of envision his role with the Suns,” McDonough said. “He does have very high-level experience. In terms of coming to the NBA, he’d obviously be a rookie by NBA standards but if we are able to bring him over this year, which we’d like to do if we can, that at 24 years old we think he’d be one of the more ready-made guys to plug in and be able to hopefully play right away.”

Bogdan will likely have to make his decision very soon. The Euroleague Championships end only a few weeks before the NBA Draft and the Suns would like to know whether or not Bogdanovic will help fill out the depth chart at guard prior to the Draft. This way they can use their four picks as efficiently as possible.

McDonough explained Bogdan’s decision and it’s effect on the draft. “If we can get a commitment from him and his agent that he’ll be in a Suns uniform next year, I think that would certainly help us with some clarity as we approach the draft and free agency,” McDonough said.

Rumors are that he will be in the NBA next season. The buyout in his contract with Fenerbahce is allegedly around 1 million euros, or approximately $1.12MM. The NBA allows teams to pay up to $650,000 (up from $600,000 in 2014) without it counting against the salary cap.

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There almost definitely will be a negotiation needed to make the buyout happen, but with the Suns current cap situation, and Bogdan’s apparent interest in coming to the NBA, I would be surprised if a deal didn’t get done in the next three weeks.

If Bogdan does spend 2016-2017 in Phoenix, he will be a part of an already crowded backcourt with Brandon Knight, Eric Bledose and Devin Booker. Personally, I love extending the alliteration; Bledsoe, Brandon, Booker and Bogdan – The Killer B’s! I can see the T-shirts already. The shirts will say “The Killer B’s” on top and will have Four bees with the head of each player superimposed onto the Bee’s bodies (Marketers in Phoenix can contact me directly to discuss this idea).

Despite the clear nickname and subsequent apparel opportunities, the Suns will be left with an on-court dilemma. Phoenix will likely not have enough minutes to go around at the wing position between Archie Goodwin, TJ Warren, PJ Tucker and The Killer B’s. As a result, Goodwin, Knight and even PJ Tucker could be possible trade casualties of bringing Bogdan to Phoenix.

One thing we know is the Suns have a lot of assets, and flexibility this off-season. If they are able to use their flexibility to trade part of the guard surplus, improve the forward positions, and bring over Bogdan; the “Draft and Stash” strategy will have finally paid off in Phoenix.