The 6-foot-3 point guard has played some of his best ball in recent weeks, comfortable that Heat President Pat Riley and owner Micky Arison are committed to a turnaround. “That’s why I signed with this team,” he said. “If I didn’t think like that, I would never have signed. I understand it’s part of the business, but I have great confidence in this organization, in Pat, in Micky, in all of those guys, because the history speaks for itself.”
"I feel comfortable in Miami. I feel great," he said. "We have a young team. I really got connected with the young guys, and I feel young, too, with them, and I would like to stay here." When initially informed of the trade speculation after Thursday night's victory over the Los Angeles Lakers at AmericanAirlines Arena, Dragic told a group of reporters that included the Sun Sentinel, "I totally deny that. That's not true." He then followed with an expletive that has since appeared on social media.
"The truth is I didn't even know that the report came out," he said. "So that was the first time that I heard about that. I feel bad because I reacted like that. But it's just those things that, if that came from me, then I would understand. But if it's a lie . . ."
Having been dealt twice in his career, Dragic said he understands the business aspect of the NBA. What he does not understand is being cast as a player looking for a way out. "It's kind of bothering me, but I understand this is part of the business," he said. "So that's why I'm calm, because I know how I can silence those rumors."
But I would be surprised if he’s moved in the immediate future and he might not be moved at all. (It all depends on what the Heat gets in return; I very much doubt it would be a straight cap-clearing salary dump without Miami getting a lottery pick back or something of real value.) And from conversations with Dragic, I do NOT believe he wants a trade. He seems to genuinely like it here and prefers not to move his family again.
Goran on trade rumors: "It didn't come from me so... that's not true. I totally deny that. That's bull****, man."
Dragic is a dilemma. When Dragic forced a trade to Miami two years ago, he thought he was joining a team one piece away — him — from being a conference contender. Today he’s leading a roster that’s a couple of losses from falling below Philadelphia in the East basement. Dragic is open to a trade, league sources told The Vertical, and Miami has pursued that option. An early season swap with Sacramento for Rudy Gay fell apart when the Heat sought Darren Collison, sources said, and teams that have probed Miami about Dragic have found the Heat open to offers.
Miami’s Goran Dragic continues to surface as possibly the biggest fish to be had, but sources with the HEAT continue to say they are not ready to blow the team up; until that happens, Goran is not on the market. The prevailing belief outside of Miami is at the deadline, the HEAT will explore Dragic’s trade value in an effort to remove his salary from their books for a run through free agency this summer when Chris Bosh’s deal is expected to be off the books as well.
Why trading Dragic might not make a lot of sense for the Heat? His 2019-20 season salary makes him awfully affordable and cap friendly. This season, Dragic is earning the eighth-highest salary in the league among point guards at $15.89 million. Only Memphis’ Mike Conley ($26.5 million), Harden ($26.5), Westbrook ($26.5), Portland’s Damian Lillard ($24.3M), the Clippers’ Chris Paul ($22.8), New York’s Derrick Rose ($21.3) and Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving ($17.6) earn more.
Miami’s Goran Dragic continues to surface as possibly the biggest fish to be had, but sources with the HEAT continue to say they are not ready to blow the team up; until that happens, Goran is not on the market. The prevailing belief outside of Miami is at the deadline, the HEAT will explore Dragic’s trade value in an effort to remove his salary from their books for a run through free agency this summer when Chris Bosh’s deal is expected to be off the books as well. Miami has kept no secret that they are rebuilding and would like to get a few more draft picks. HEAT sources said recently that keeping Dragic as the veteran leader wouldn’t be a bad thing, but conceded he might return a ton of value, which lines up with the league belief that the HEAT would explore moving him at or around the deadline.
"Rumors will always be there," Dragic tells Bleacher Report. "It's not the first time I've been mentioned in them. The only thing that I can control is preparing myself to do my job on the floor and at practice and try to be as solid as possible."
Plus, Dragic is happy to be with the Heat. He could have soured on the team after the offseason exodus, but instead he has an exhaustive list of what he likes about the franchise. "Everything," he says. "How the organization is doing. They take care of guys. Teammates, of course, the coaching staff, the fans. It's a great spot to be. I'm really comfortable here. I want to stay as long as possible."
The Miami Heat aren't actively trying to trade point guard Goran Dragic. We know this because if they were, it wouldn't take the Heat long to find a taker. Around the league, though, there's a growing sense that Dragic is a name to keep tabs on for those of you (and, yes, we mean everyone) who enjoy the sport unto itself known as NBA Wheeling & Dealing, since Miami is a team rival executives are watching closely.
Don't be surprised if the Heat decide to make Dragic available if they get off to a slow start with a roster that suddenly no longer features Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh. It should be noted that Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is an immense Dragic fan who A) went to the 30-year-old's native Slovenia in the summer to personally check up on him during EuroBasket qualifying.
Spoelstra assured Dragic this week that a recent report suggesting Miami was actively discussing a deal to send him to Sacramento for Rudy Gay and Darren Collison was inaccurate. Yet one suspects this one is bound to keep coming up, partly because whispers persist that Gay would love to land in Miami ... but also because it's no secret Sacramento is on the hunt for a first-rate quarterback.
Dragic said he appreciated the fact Spoelstra came to him before Thursday’s game in Charlotte to tell him there was nothing to the trade rumors involving him and Sacramento’s Rudy Gay. “I’m glad he did,” Dragic said. “I told him I appreciate it. My brother, my family and friends were calling. It’s something less to worry about before the season starts.”
Sources say that the Heat naturally would have been prepared to surrender Dragic during the summer as part of a grander package to try to pry Russell Westbrook away from Oklahoma City, back when teams -- with fingers glued together -- were hopeful that the Thunder might be willing to trade Westbrook right after Kevin Durant defected to Golden State.
Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra took the somewhat extraordinary step Thursday of confirming to Goran Dragic that there was no truth to the recent report of the guard being part of trade discussions with the Sacramento Kings. While the Heat typically dismiss trade rumors, Dragic said Spoelstra spoke to him about the latest swirl during the morning shootaround at the Spectrum Center, in advance of Thursday night's exhibition against the Charlotte Hornets. "Spo came over and did that today," Dragic said. "He just said those rumors, they're not true."
"I told him I understand this is the business," Dragic said of Spoelstra confiding in him, "The only thing I can do is do what I do on the court."
Asked what he would think the next time that he is mentioned in a rumor if Spoelstra would not offer the same type of denial, Dragic smiled, instead grateful for Thursday's gesture. "That was really nice from Spo," Dragic said. "That's not his job to come to the players to say it, so I understand." Dragic said he appreciated that there will be times when management and the coaching staff might not be able to be as forthcoming. "This is business," he said, "so I have no problem with that."
Barry Jackson: Heat not pursuing trade with Gay/Dragic at this time, but might pursue Gay in 2017 free agency as secondary option. - RT: Alex Kennedy: While trying to defuse trade rumors, Rudy Gay said, "I have no choice but to work for the Sacramento Kings." Quotes like that don't defuse!
Manny Navarro: Goran Dragic on trade rumors: "I understand it's part of the business. Some are true. Some are not true. I don't have control of that. I want to stay here. It's a good group of young talent. I like the coaching staff. I feel like at home now. I know how I need to play, the style is perfect for me... my goal is to be here for many, many years." #Heat
Manny Navarro: Goran Dragic says he understands why #Heat may look to trade if team struggles. "It's part of the business. It's on us to be the best we can."
The Sacramento Kings and Miami Heat have discussed a trade of Rudy Gay and Darren Collison for Goran Dragic, league sources told Basketball Insiders.
“Sacramento has to trade Gay,” an Eastern Conference executive told Basketball Insiders. “He’s already informed them he doesn’t like it there. They can’t let him walk for nothing.” Gay can become an unrestricted free agent after this season since he has a $14,263,566 player option for next season. With that in mind, sources indicated that the Kings are ideally looking for a starting-caliber point guard in any trade proposal involving Gay.
At this time, Sacramento and Miami are kicking the tires on the potential trade. The trade, as it has been discussed, has various benefits for both teams should it ultimately happen.
But he made clear, in an emphatic tone Friday, that he has no such issues with the Heat, even with Wade gone and Bosh away from the team, now working with a more youthful, untested roster that features 10 new players this preseason. "It's not even close," he said. "I'm happy here. This is the team that I want to be part of. And I feel great. I feel comfortable. We are building something here that is totally new, but I have a lot of confidence that we're going to succeed, because we have a lot of young talent that is working hard. I feel awesome."
"He asked me that question: Didn't I sign to be part of a great team, championship team? I said, 'Yeah, of course.' Then I said sometimes your career, this is business, you cannot have every decision go the way you want it on your own. This is a team decision. Sometimes you need to do two steps back to go one step forward. I'm happy to be here. This is the team that I want to be here. But I understand this is business."
Dragic said he was surprised how his words were misconstrued across social media, including some posts in his native Slovenia tongue. "I don't have any comments about not wanting to be here," he said. "That is nonsense."
The Heat want to see what this feisty group can do, but if they struggle early, history suggests Miami will not be afraid to plummet down the standings. The easiest method: trade Goran Dragic without receiving a point guard, leaving the offense in the hands of (mostly) unproven ball-handlers. The Heat and Kings have had some vague trade talks since July -- not necessarily involving Dragic, sources say -- and given the Kings' shaky point guard situation, it's tempting to build deals sending Dragic to Sacramento. A half-dozen other teams are searching for a long-term answer at point guard.
“You know, I look at it this way,” guard Goran Dragic said. “I did not have control over that. I cannot have it. So the only thing I can control is on myself, to be prepared for this season. Of course, the offseason went the way it went. But I’m happy with my teammates. I think we had a great training camp. Some changes, but we’re a young team that wants to prove to the league that we can play basketball.” True. But Dragic did not come from the Phoenix Suns two years ago via trade to not play with Wade and Bosh. He did not sign a $90 million extension last year to not be on a championship contender. This is not what he signed up for. “You’re right,” he said. “But the main thing is, I want to win games. Of course, I want to win the championship. But, how you say: you need to go one step back to go two steps forward.”
Any thought to the Heat trading Goran Dragic this summer and bidding for free agent Mike Conley has been cast aside because of Dragic’s recent play. “We love Goran,” Pat Riley said last week. “Now he's playing like The Dragon. His game has opened up. I'm very happy that we have this point guard.”
At last month’s trade deadline, for example, the Heat were not actively shopping point guard Goran Dragic — acquired in a trade last year and signed to a max deal last summer — but a source said Miami was, “certainly feeling out his value.” Expect Dragic trades to be explored this summer. Before the season, there was excitement about the notion of Dragic and Bosh working the pick-and-roll together, but with Bosh’s future in question, the Heat must consider what to do with Dragic, whose shooting struggles (31.0 percent from the 3-point line) have been an issue.
August 7, 2022 | 7:04 pm EDT Update
Shams Charania: Free agent forward Kent Bazemore has agreed to a one-year deal with the Sacramento Kings, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
August 7, 2022 | 4:31 pm EDT Update
Goran Dragic talked to the Slovenian press before Saturday’s prep game against Montenegro and explained his motivation about his return to the Slovenian national team. “I predict the semi-finals, but then anything is possible”, said a smiling Dragic, who is ready to defend the title he won together with a young Luka Doncic back in 2017. However, after five years things are different and Dragic understands it: “In my opinion, I will play a little less minutes, it will not be at that level. I don’t know how much I played, 36 minutes per game? Everything will depend on how I feel. The role will definitely be different. I was Batman, but now I’ll be Robin. The most important thing will be to make sure we have good chemistry and be a leader on the court and lift guys up when it’s most difficult. My role remains the same, Luka’s may have changed a bit more, but I believe that everyone has their own role in the national team and that there will be no problems. We all understand each other, we are one big team, and that’s why we can make a good result. That chemistry is what other teams don’t have.”
Dragic had also to convince the Chicago Bulls to let him play, something that was not ideal for them: “When I had a medical exam with Chicago and sat down with them, they said I’d rather not play. I said I’d rather and in the end it’s the player who decides. I had to go to Chicago, undergo a medical examination and everything else. When you go to a medical examination, you always wait for the results, because you never know what can happen”.
And Dragic knows that the Eurobasket will not be a walk in the park: “This will be my toughest championship so far. I think a lot of national teams have players from the NBA. I believe that we will have good chances. I did not return to the national team to play for fifth or sixth place. The desire is for a medal, but now, as I said, it is necessary to go step by step”.
Law Murray: For the first time since 2017, Norman Powell is playing today @DrewLeague for Hometown Favorites He is the first current LA Clippers player to play at Drew League since Montrezl Harrell in 2019. pic.twitter.com/7fDl7wv6Lv