Sources: C's outside contender for Dragic?

The Phoenix Suns will try to move star guard Goran Dragic before Thursday's 3 p.m. deadline.

ESPN.com's Marc Stein said via Twitter that the Boston Celtics could be one outside contender. From Stein:

ESPN sources say Celtics emerging as contender on the outside for Goran Dragic in trade with Phoenix.

Celtics have the assets to jump into Dragic talks and, like Houston and Sacramento, also have the guts to trade for a free agent-to-be. Don't forget Celtics [president of basketball operations] Danny Ainge and Suns GM Ryan McDonough have strong working relationship and have already done a deal this season.

Teams that would gamble on Dragic deal now (Celtics/Rockets/Kings) are banking on idea fifth year would make big difference in free agency. Only team with Dragic on roster as of 3 p.m. Thursday can give five years in free agency ... which is why Phoenix could also take risk and keep him.

Here's more on Phoenix's desire to trade Dragic:

Sources told ESPN.com on Tuesday night that Dragic has little interest in signing a long-term deal with the Rockets, who would thus likely be unwilling to surrender the needed assets this week to get a Dragic deal done.

The Lakers and New York Knicks, sources said, are destinations that highly intrigue Dragic, given that both teams desperately need a point guard and will have loads of cap space to offer him. Only the Suns can offer Dragic a five-year deal for now, but any team that trades for Dragic this week would inherit his Larry Bird rights and the ability to offer a five-year contract come July.

If no trade materializes, Dragic would head to free agency seeking a four-year max deal from the likes of the Lakers, Knicks and Miami Heat that, based on the latest estimates in circulation, could reach the $80 million range.

The list of teams interested in Dragic stretches well into double digits, but it remains to be seen how willing teams beyond those on the Slovenian's short list are to presented trade scenarios that appeal to Phoenix. Although it would certainly be risky to keep Dragic on the roster beyond Thursday's deadline, it certainly wouldn't be unprecedented, given that only Phoenix -- in that scenario -- could offer him a five-year contract in the summer.

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