Lakers Rumors: Suns Asked To ‘Remove’ Top-Five Pick Protection For Goran Dragic

The Goran Dragic sweepstakes continues on Wednesday with trade talks between the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns intensifying. It appears to be only a matter of time before Dragic is dealt by the Suns, but are trying to get all they can in return for the veteran point guard.

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On Wednesday morning, ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne reported the Suns had offered Isaiah Thomas to Los Angeles in a counter offer last week:

Along with proposing a trade for Thomas rather than Dragic, Phoenix reportedly asked Los Angeles to remove the top-five protection on the draft pick they owe the Suns, via Shelburne:

It appears the Lakers will have to pay a high price for Dragic in order to acquire him before the NBA trade deadline on Thursday. Los Angeles has been desperate to right the ship with a big-name acquisition and landing the Slovenian would be a step in the right direction, but costly for a player that could simply leave in free agency this summer.

The Lakers are currently on pace to keep their draft pick this season with the team already having lost 40 games this season. If the pick falls out of the top five, the Lakers would surrender the pick to Phoenix. The Suns want that protection of the pick removed as a part of the trade to send Dragic to Los Angeles.

Some would argue bringing in Thomas would be the smarter move going forward. Thomas has shown an interest in becoming a Laker and already has a contract that would have him wearing purple and gold for the next three seasons if acquired. Thomas will earn $6.9 million next season, $6.5 million in 2016-17 and $6.2 million in the final year of his deal.

As for Dragic, the Lakers would likely need to sign him to a max deal over the summer at the high price of $20 million per season. Although an upgrade over Jeremy Lin and Jordan Clarkson at the point guard position, it may be a stretch to offer him a contract of $80 million.

The Suns may also be adding Miles Plumlee to a trade package involving Dragic, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein:

Rumors surfaced this week of the Lakers’ interest in acquiring Plumlee. The Suns considering packing Plumlee with Dragic might make a deal with Los Angeles more likely, but the New York Knicks have also shown interest in both players as well.

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