Mavs Eyeing Zoran Dragic? The Inside Answer

Zoran Dragic is a 6-5 shooting guard, who can play defense, represents a Mavs foreign connection, is the younger brother of the gifted Goran Dragic, and certainly fits a need in Dallas. One media outlet even says Dallas is negotiating with the Euro standout. What's the real deal? Come inside Mavs HQ:

We've seen news items over the last two days stating that various teams are recruiting Zoran Dragic to come to the NBA, with the Dallas Mavericks mentioned by RealGM as a club in negotiations with the player.

Let's keep this simple, and list the 12 things we know about Dragic, the Mavs and his NBA bid:

1) From a Phoenix-based article, this scouting report:

a) Zoran is a 25-year old, 6-5, 205-pound shooting guard who is known for his ability to score by slashing to the basket, and his intense play and energy on both ends of the court.

b) This past year, Zoran averaged around 10 points, three rebounds, one assist, and one steal in around 20 minutes of play, while shooting around 43% from the field overall.

2) Other reports describe him as a good defender, and at 6-5 he is far from undersized.

3) ESPN's Marc Stein says:

a) Phoenix is one of three teams expressing the most serious interest in signing him, and he didn't know the other two (but he cited reports in Europe mentioning Indy).

b) Zoran just signed a brand new contract to play in Spain beginning this season, and can be bought out of it next summer for 750,000 Euros (about $1M)

c) He could be bought out now, as long as it happens before the start of the new season in Spain, but in that scenario the buyout would cost more than 750,000 Euros.

4) Aside: If the Suns signed him, would that have any impact on the stalled contract talks with Bledsoe?

5) A report by RealGM mentions talks with Miami, San Antonio, Orlando and ... Dallas! ... and says that his deadline for an immediate buyout is Oct 5. (There is a problem with this report. Read on ...)

6) A 6-5 shooting guard, who can play defense, certainly fits a need in Dallas.

7) It's easy to get excited about "another Dragic" but we have to keep in mind this is merely Goran Dragic's brother, not Goran. The family tie can overexcite and imply more potential than it might deliver (see Griffin, Taylor).

8) On the other hand, there have also been brothers who both excelled (the Lopez and Gasol brothers are current NBA examples). And to be fair, Zoran has drawn interest because he has played well in FIBA, first and foremost.

9) The Mavs can have up to 20 players under contract in the offseason, so in one sense, and in theory, they have the opening to add him. So far they have 15 players with fully guaranteed contracts, two with partial guarantees (Johnson, Griffin), and two promised non-guaranteed deals coming (Lamb, Villanueva). As was first to report, Rashard Lewis remains on their radar as well, once he's recovered from surgery.

10) But (and this is just the first "but'') ... the money it would take to sign Dragic doesn't work for the Mavs right now.

Dallas can't offer anything but the minimum of $507K, plus pay $600K of his $1M buyout, leaving Dragic the choice of $100K for a season in Dallas or millions (?)* to stay another year in Spain.

11) As to the other teams mentioned as being in the mix, and their ability to make an enticing offer for now?

a) Miami is also limited to the minimum.

b) Indy could make an offer up to the full MLE using their disabled Player Exception, but would have to limit their offer to maybe around $3M to stay below their self-imposed limit at the tax line.

c) Orlando, San Antonio and Phoenix could each make an offer up and maybe more than the full MLE amount if they wanted to.

12) So, Dallas in, yes or no? No. Sources tell that Zoran Dragic is not a Dallas consideration because in addition to the finances not working, the roster spots are taken. "Room for a 20th guy'' doesn't apply here. This would require "room for a 15th guaranteed contract,'' and those Dallas deals are already done.

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