"We feel like we got the best player in the trade [Brandon Knight], coming or going," Phoenix general manager Ryan McDonough said a day after completing a three-way trade that most notably sent Dragic and his brother Zoran to the Miami Heat; the Suns netted Knight from the Milwaukee Bucks.
Goran Dragic, along with Eric Bledsoe, nearly led the surprising Suns to the playoffs last season. Following the success of their two-point guard attack, Phoenix added a third point guard, Isaiah Thomas, in a decision that rankled Dragic.
"Every move we make is with the goal of getting the Phoenix Suns to a championship level," McDonough said. "Sometimes, players view that as a good thing. I think they usually do. The good ones do. But, sometimes, players get a little selfish and are more worried about I, me and my than us, our and we."
The situation with Dragic came to a head earlier this week when the guard said he no longer trusted the franchise and wanted out.
Team president Lon Babby on Friday characterized those comments as "unfair and unwarranted."
In addition to the Dragics, the Suns in a separate deal shipped Thomas to the Boston Celtics. The flurry of moves at the trade deadline, along with the notion that the team's best player in Goran Dragic is gone, has forced the Phoenix front office to defend its moves.
"Our response to that, I think, is that Eric Bledsoe and Markieff Morris are still in Phoenix Suns uniforms," McDonough said.
"I feel a little ridiculous sitting up here kind of addressing the tone, some of the questions and the mood seems like we're 20 games below .500 and the season has been a disaster," McDonough added. "If the playoffs started at the All-Star break, we'd be in."
The Suns are in ninth place in the Western Conference at 29-26 after losing Friday to the host Minnesota Timberwolves 111-109 in their first game since the All-Star break with just 10 men suited up, as physicals were pending for the recently acquired players.
"At the end of the day," Babby said, "I'm absolutely convinced that we are in a better place now than we have been since I've been here."