The Phoenix Suns made waves in February of 2013, when brothers Markieff and Marcus Morris reunited, by playing for the same NBA franchise. Not only did it achieve a rarity in professional sports, by having brothers on the same team, but they managed to be the only current set of twins to be on the same team in the NBA. Now, rumors have it that the Phoenix Suns could be the only current team to have two sets of brothers by the start of the season, with Slovenian guard, Zoran Dragic, interested in joining his brother, Goran, on the team.
Zoran, who is three years younger than his brother, is an eight-year veteran of the Euroleague. Currently, he is under contract for Unicaja Malaga in Spain. Despite his contract, the Euroleague guard has expressed interest in joining the NBA. However, the only way he joins his brother is if his contract is bought out for $1.1 million. The Suns can only put together $600,000 for the buyout. It is largely perceived though that his brother may put up the rest of the funds himself. Additionally, since Zoran was expected to make $1.4 million this year, his contract would likely have to be in the $2 million range, to make it worth leaving Spain.
While the Suns are the leading candidates to obtain Zoran, due to his brother’s presence on the squad, they are not the only suitor of the 25-year-old. The San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers, and Sacramento Kings are all said to be interested. The obvious advantage for Dragic to go to the Spurs would be to join a championship contender and be mentored by Gregg Popovich. Meanwhile, the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings remain long shots, as both would benefit from the Slovenian more than he would benefit from them. After losing Paul George and Lance Stephenson, Indiana is in dire need for more scorers on the squad in order to keep themselves in the playoff picture. Sacramento, who were the third-worst team in the Western Conference last season, despite the evolving DeMarcus Cousins, are far from contending, let alone making the playoffs. As such, San Antonio, likely, remains the only competition in bringing in the younger Dragic.
Zoran may not be the franchise-leading player that his brother is, but he has impressed many overseas, particularly during this summer’s FIBA Cup. While playing for Slovenia, Zoran averaged 12.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg and 1.4 spg, while shooting 50 percent from the field and 43.3 percent from the three-point line. What Zoran would bring to any team is a consistent marksman from the field. Another advantage to having Zoran is that he is still young enough to improve his game at 25 years of age.
As for Phoenix, obtaining Zoran would be a great asset to the team. Last year, Phoenix proved to be one of the top up-and-coming squads, after going from a bottom dweller of the Western Conference in 2012-2013, with a 25-win season, to barely missing the playoffs last season with 48 wins, led by first-year coach Jeff Hornacek.
One quality that separates Phoenix from most squads around the league is that, while they do not have any top-10 players, they have one of the deepest rosters. Moreover, they demonstrated great team chemistry and, despite the current internal controversy with Eric Bledsoe (17.7ppg, 5.5 apg, 4.7 rpg and 1.6 spg) and Channing Frye leaving for the Orlando Magic, that chemistry is, likely, to continue. Coming into this season, they will, essentially, have the same roster, including Goran Dragic (20.3 ppg, 5.9 apg, 3.2 rpg and 1.4 spg), Gerald Green (15.8 ppg and 3.4 rpg), Markieff Morris (13.8 ppg and 6 rpg), Marcus Morris (9.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and Miles Plumlee (8.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg and 1.1 bpg), not to mention their signing of stellar point guard, Isaiah Thomas (20.3 ppg, 6.3 apg, 2.9 rpg and 1.3 spg). By bringing in Zoran, Phoenix will have another combo of brothers, who have playing chemistry, as they not only have played ball together their entire life but, currently, they play alongside each other on the Slovenian National Team.
While Eric Bledsoe and the Suns have their internal war with each other, Phoenix has a chance to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2009-2010 season. One way in which for the Phoenix Suns to make their playoff hopes a, more likely, reality is to make the signing of Goran Dragic’s brother, Zoran, official, which could result in the team having the only two sets of brothers by the start of the season.
Commentary by Simon Mounsey