The Raptors might ultimately trade Goran Dragic after completing their sign-and-trade deal with Miami that will send Kyle Lowry to the Heat, but they have resisted external interest in Dragic thus far, league sources say. Dallas, I’m told, is among the teams that has tried to acquire him via trade and remains interested in acquiring Dragic after missing out on Lowry. Toronto appears to have other plans for now — which certainly don’t include buying him out. In the wake of Dragic’s emotional Miami exit, Dallas is obviously an appealing destination since it would team him with his fellow Slovenian Luka Doncic.
The Kyle Lowry sign-and-trade to Miami isn't in doubt, but it appears the reason it hasn't been officially completed yet is that Toronto is now trying to re-home Goran Dragic. In statements to the media, Dragic expressed a desire to join the Mavericks and play with Luka Doncic, something Dallas is known to be interested in as well. To join as a third team in that deal, Dallas would have to send at least $14.4 million in salary to Toronto, something most easily done by combining Dwight Powell and Willie Cauley-Stein. But that's also where it gets complicated.
Dallas wouldn't want to do that because Powell is beloved around the organization, and losing two centers in the same transaction would thin the team's depth. The Mavs also don't want to replace Cauley-Stein with one of their prospects in Josh Green or Tyrell Terry. But Toronto likely views Dragic, a proven veteran on an expiring deal, as a positive asset. Dallas wants him, so why shouldn't it give something up? That's the current limbo it's easy to imagine both teams in right now. One possible solution is Dallas finding an expendable player Toronto does want and using a recently acquired trade exception (TPE) to bring something more conducive to the Raptors' likings.
Marc Stein: Heartfelt goodbye to Heat fans from Goran Dragic in anticipation of the sign-and-trade deal that will send him to Toronto in exchange for Kyle Lowry:
Tim Reynolds: Goran Dragic has thanked the Miami Heat and insisted there is “no hard feelings, ever.” Put simply, he loved his time with the Heat and loves the city.
The Jump: "If Goran Dragic to Dallas doesn't work out, keep an eye on New Orleans" 👀 —@Marc J. Spears #TheJump
Michael Grange: Any potential move where Dragic is sent to Dallas could very well involve Dwight Powell coming back. No news on that front yet but Powell would look at it as a homecoming, for obvious reasons, I’m told.
Michael Grange: Goran Dragic’s first choice would to be re-routed to Dallas, I’m told.
Some around the league believe the Dallas Mavericks will consider trading for Goran Dragic should he end up going to Toronto in the Kyle Lowry sign-and-trade deal with Miami, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski mentioned. Dallas can be added as a third team in the Lowry sign-and-trade deal where they get Dragic. The Mavericks can also trade for Dragic separately with Toronto. Both avenues can happen using Dallas’ cap space.
Lowry and Butler have been known to be close dating back to their shared experience with Team USA during the 2016 Olympics. And the moment Miami picked up Goran Dragic’s $19.4 million team option for the 2021-22 season, league personnel began to pencil Lowry into South Beach. “It’s so indicative of a sign-and-trade incoming,” said one Western Conference executive.
Dragic appears likely to head to Toronto in such an agreement, which sources around the league expect to include Precious Achiuwa. There is a belief among rival executives that both Dragic and Achiuwa could be rerouted elsewhere in subsequent trades. And while the Heat still seem focused on finding a path to bring on DeMar DeRozan as well, that does not sound like a requirement for Lowry to join Miami.
Barry Jackson: ESPN reports tonight that New Orleans and Dallas - two Lowry suitors - have begun to look elsewhere for point guards. The Dragic/Achiuwa package should get this done for Lowry barring any late issues; Achiuwa hasn't yet been informed because talks can't begin until 6 p.m. Monday.
The Miami Heat are positioning themselves to become front-runners to land Kyle Lowry in a sign-and-trade agreement once discussions are permitted to begin with the opening of NBA free agency on Monday, sources told ESPN. Lowry has long been intrigued with joining Heat star Jimmy Butler and the Miami organization, and now Miami has maneuvered to have two key elements of a possible sign-and-trade package -- guard Goran Dragic and forward Precious Achiuwa -- to offer the Raptors once talks can ensue at 6 p.m. ET on Monday, sources said.
The Heat picked up the option on Dragic's $19.4 million contract for the 2021-2022 season, making him an ideal contractual fit to include in talks to make a deal possible with the Raptors. A market exists for the Raptors to move Dragic, 35, onto a new team, including the Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans, sources said. Dragic has been a longtime mentor to Mavericks star Luka Doncic, both natives of Slovenia. They also share an agent, Bill Duffy of BDA Sports
Marc Stein: Miami's status as the favorite to land Kyle Lowry was only enhanced by the decision to pick up Goran Dragic's option for next season, league sources say. A sign-and-trade with Toronto for Lowry centered around Dragic's $19.4MM deal for next season is an obvious route to a deal.
Barry Jackson: As we and others have written, and the great Woj reiterated today, Lowry remains Heat high priority target. Looms as Heat/Pelicans/Mavericks battle, with Knicks and 76ers also potentially in play. The decision to exercise Dragic option suggests Toronto might be OK taking him back
Miami could send either Goran Dragic or Andre Iguodala back in either scenario. Both players have team options for the 2021-22 season, therefore Miami would need to exercise those options in this hypothetical. And if Golden State or Brooklyn simply lost Oubre or Dinwiddie, let's say to Dallas for a three-year, $60 million deal, there's a scenario where the Mavericks could send back a future second-round pick and in turn create a trade exception for the Warriors or Nets just like Hayward and Boston a year ago.
Miami, the other frontrunner to acquire Lowry, had a starting offer of Goran Dragic, Kelly Olynyk, and Kendrick Nunn, as HoopsHype reported. Since then, Duncan Robinson, a restricted free agent who is considered the top shooter available this offseason, has emerged as a potential candidate to be included in the Lowry trade.
Barry Jackson: With Heat needing to shed lots of $$ by closing of Butler sign-and-trade, waiving/stretching Ryan A remains easiest way to do it, though Heat exploring options. Dragic has not been told of any impending move with him; Lakers reportedly eyeing FAs with cap space if don't get Kawhi
Barry Jackson: After conveying to Dragic camp very late last night that Heat likely would need to move Dragic to complete Butler trade, Miami ultimately did not need to after Clippers agreed to take Harkless and No. 1. Dragic pleased he has not been moved. Excellent turn of events for Heat.
The Heat has conveyed to Dragic’s representation that it will attempt to trade Dragic and has offered to work with Dragic’s reps to achieve that.
Though the Heat is exploring options to trade Dragic, his reps — as of Monday morning — weren’t yet actively involved in that process. That is expected to change shortly. Dragic’s West Coast-based agents were looped into the process very late Sunday night, according to a source close to the Heat.
Ramona Shelburne: The Mavericks had interest in acquiring Goran Dragic in the three-team trade construction with Miami & Philly, but “they changed course,” his agent Bill Duffy tells ESPN. “In analyzing it, his salary was too high based on other things they’re trying to do.”
Shams Charania: Sources: Goran Dragic was not included as part of Miami/Dallas deal framework. He remains in Miami.
Ira Winderman: As speculated here earlier today, Goran Dragic to Mavs as part of making cap space work on Butler deal. The Butler deal will leave the Heat hard-capped for 2019-20.
Tim Cato: The Mavericks have traded for Miami's Goran Dragic, multiple sources confirm. Dragic is the only other Slovenian in the league, and was roommates with Luka Doncic during Slovenia's 2017 EuroBasket run.
There were no assurances given to Dragic by the Heat that he wouldn’t be traded, but Filipovich said Heat president Pat Riley indicated that he “likes Goran and his character and his game.”
Ira Winderman: Sun Sentinel can confirm through an NBA source that Goran Dragic has informed the Heat that he will opt into the final season on his Heat contract. Had until June 29 for decision. Now becomes trade eligible.
Darren Wolfson: "Is Goran Dragic available [in exchange for Jimmy Butler]? Yeah, the Wolves could acquire Goran Dragic. Is Hassan Whiteside available? Yeah, the Wolves could acquire Hassan Whiteside. From Houston, you can get Eric Gordon. You can get PJ Tucker. The Rockets want Jimmy Butler. The Bucks are willing to offer Malcolm Brogdon, Eric Bledsoe—the Bucks still have interest in Jimmy Butler, but they're not willing to move Khris Middleton. ... The Clippers are also still very, very interested in Jimmy Butler."
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Phoenix did check w/ Minnesota on cost of getting involved on a Jimmy Butler trade, but asking price was far too steep for Suns. So far, there's been no communication on Teague or Dragic in a 3-way, but that could always change if Miami-Minnesota go deeper into talks.
And though Pat Riley publicly said there are no untouchables on his roster, the Heat also showed no inclination in trading Goran Dragic, Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo. And Miami’s preference this summer was to keep James Johnson and Justise Winslow.
There is no appetite to trade Goran Dragic — and the Heat would very much prefer to keep Bam Adebayo and Josh Richardson. But as Riley has said, no one on the roster is untouchable and any could be offered if a superstar becomes available. Though the Heat ideally would like to keep Justise Winslow, too, there’s an understanding internally that he might be needed if Miami can put together a package for a high-end player.
But for as much as the Suns might embrace such a reunion from an emotional standpoint, I'm not sure that a 31-year-old point guard is in the franchise's best interests. And yet, if the Heat can regain their unprotected 2021 first-round pick dealt for Dragic, it would almost seem like a three-year rental of Dragic represented enough service time for the No. 16 pick the Heat are forwarding to the Suns in this year's draft. Perhaps the Suns might be more prone to consider such a deal if they wind up with Slovenian sensation Luka Doncic as the result of the lottery.
Ira Winderman: Heat denies ESPN report of offering Dragic and Winslow to Cavaliers for Irving. Say no offer of any type has been made
The Miami Heat are willing to part with Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow as centerpieces for an Irving trade, league sources said. With the Cleveland-Miami history, there's little chance for a deal unless the Heat offered an overwhelming package. Gilbert may have unwittingly thrust pressure onto Altman in a Wednesday news conference, declaring "Indiana could've done better" in its trade package for Paul George. The Cavaliers have more leverage in a deal because Irving has two years on his contract to George's one.
One source said that the Heat’s willingness to sell off pieces such as Dragic and center Hassan Whiteside was overblown in the media to begin with, though, and that the Heat were more likely to ride out the season and re-evaluate offers for Dragic and Whiteside — who just signed a four-year, $98 million deal last summer — in the offseason.
After hearing his name mentioned in trade rumors previously as a member of the Phoenix Suns, and earlier this season in trade talks with Rudy Gay, as Basketball Insiders previously reported, Dragic changed the way he views the trade deadline. "Maybe in the past, a few years ago, I was really into it," Dragic told Basketball Insiders in late January. "I was really nervous all the time. I was reading articles. When I got traded the first time it kind of changed me because then I realized this is normal, this is part of the business. Now I'm not even paying attention about that, I'm only focused on basketball, because it can mess your head up if you're not mentally strong. I don't want to read those or even hear those rumors. I just want to do my job."
However, while approaching 31 in May, Dragic never lost faith in Miami's management to quickly rebuild going forward. "I feel good confidence, great, because first of all, I trust completely the front office," Dragic told Basketball Insiders. "Pat Riley, and Andy [Elisburg] and Mickey Arison's family, they know what they're doing. They've already proven that in the past, and I'm not worried about the future because we have a lot of good, young players who are developing their game in the right directions. It's going to be an interesting summer for us, but I feel fully comfortable that we're going to bounce back quick."
Even with the losing record and swirl of trade rumors, it is a role the 30-year-old Slovenian has embraced. "If I'm honest," he said, "I feel even better here than in Phoenix. I like all my teammates. I feel like I'm in the right spot. My head is clear and I'm working hard to be a better player, a better teammate. Hopefully I can contribute even more, be a big help."
Steve Kyler: Jan Emmanuel Gan: is Dragic on the move? HEAT have listened to offers. They have not found anything they'd seriously consider. Was told they'd be fine keeping him. twitter.com/janemmanueldga…
“If I’m honest, I feel even better here than in Phoenix,” Dragic said late Thursday night, after scoring 32 points in a 99-95 win against Dallas. “I like all my teammates. I feel like I’m in the right spot. My head is clear; I’m working hard to be a better player and teammate. I feel awesome. I feel like I have three aspects: midrange, threes and driving. It makes my job a lot easier than before.”
Dragic very much hopes to stay with the Heat longterm. “I feel really good here,” said Dragic, in the second year of a five-year, $85 million contract. “I feel like I’m in the right spot. The city is awesome, the fans are great, the organization is the top organization in the league. My family, they’re feeling amazing, they love the city. Of course I want to stay here.”
Dragic, 30, is optimistic about a quick Heat turnaround because of confidence in president Pat Riley, general manager Andy Elisburg and owner Micky Arison. “The history talks about what Pat, Andy, Micky, what those guys are able to do in one summer,” he said. “I have complete faith in the front office. They’re going to do an amazing job. They did before, now and in the future.”
Dragic appreciates that Spoelstra visited him in Slovenia last summer, when he was training for the national team. “Even when I was in the offseason he was texting me how I’m doing, how is my family doing and he came to visit me,” he said. “That means a lot to me and to my family because you feel wanted.”
The South Beachers continue to leave the impression that they're resistant to surrendering Dragic before the Feb. 23 trade deadline.
Flipping Dragic for future assets was their most obvious path to the bottom, but Miami's injury situation has gotten so ugly, they don't even have to do that! They're 11-29, ahead of only the Nets. Teams will express interest in Dragic ahead of the trade deadline -- a bunch, including the Magic, already did, per league sources -- but Miami can hold out for a hefty return. They gave up a ton for Dragic, and they'd need to save face in any teardown trade.
The next part is all of the veterans they have on the roster, most notably point guard Goran Dragic. HEAT sources have said rebuilding around a 30-year point guard wouldn’t be the worst thing to do, but there is a growing sense that Miami explores liquidating not only Dragic but many of the veteran guys they have on expiring deals to collect rookie scale players or draft picks.
"They could get a great draft pick," the scout, who required anonymity as he spoke about another's team's player under contract, said. "I think you can get a first and, I don't know when, something else in the draft. Are you going to get the fifth pick in the draft? No. I'm not sure about multiple firsts. I think the second one would have to be stretched long into the future. But I think you can get a first and a second. You certainly could get, at minimum, a first."
The skepticism of the Eastern Conference scout was not about Dragic, even with the Heat's losing record, but the perception that has received so much national discourse, of the need for the Heat to move on. "They have two players on that team, and he's one of them," the scout said of Hassan Whiteside and Dragic. "I mean, starting point guard this is the hardest position to fill. On some teams, he might be the difference maker."
And then the scout mentioned Pat Riley, and the recent, well-publicized comments from the Heat president about a rapid rebuild, something unlikely with a drafted point guard, particularly one with only one season of collegiate experience.
"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."
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."
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."
May 16, 2022 | 9:00 pm EDT Update
Kyrie Irving — who has a decision to make next month on whether to opt-in to the final year of his Brooklyn contract — sat down for the latest “I Am Athlete” episode. He lifted the lid on a host of topics, including saying the Cavaliers would’ve stayed together longer and won more if he’d been more mature. “If I was in the same maturity line and understanding of who I am, and I look back, we definitely, definitely would’ve won more championships, because there would’ve been a better man-to-man understanding about what I’m going through. I didn’t know how to share my emotions,” Irving said. “I didn’t know how to do that. So instead of sharing, I isolated myself.”
Kyrie Irving: “I just started pouring myself more into the game — I had one of my better seasons but I wasn’t connecting with everybody as much during the championship year. So 2017, it was a different year for us. We went against Golden State, we went against a great team. When you’re not a great team and not clicking on all cylinders and together, you’re easily defeated. You’re defeated before you can get to the arena.”
While Irving has a $36.5 million opt-in decision to make, he’s at a different place in his life than he was when he asked out of Cleveland at 24. In hindsight, he regrets not speaking to LeBron James beforehand. “We didn’t talk during that time,” Irving admitted. “When I look back on what I was going through at that time, I wish I did, because it would’ve been a good understanding of what the future will hold for both of us and we know how much power we both had together. Me and him in the league together running Cleveland, and then being able to put a better team together every single year would’ve definitely been worth it.”
“Frustrating from an organizational standpoint. but even more so from Ben’s,: said Marks. “I had a conversation with Ben. We all did. We saw how he wanted to get out there. To be honest, I’ve got to admire that. He tries to do 3-on-3, 5-on-5 and then you turn around and get an MRI, You see the disc herniation has gotten worse. and you think, well this guy is pushing through something that he shouldn’t be pushing through. Nobody wants to have surgery. It’s the last resort but it’s bygone now and we’ve got to move forward on this, we’ve got to support him and so forth.”
Asked for lessons learned from the Simmons off-again, on-again saga. Marks used the opportunity to critique the critics. “It’s a little bit of a testament that 1) he tried to get back out there and tried to help his teammates and secondly, we have to be careful not judge people. And if you’re outside that medical profession, when you’re chiming in from afar. You just have to be a bit careful of what you’re saying because you really don’t know,” said Marks.
Marks spoke as well about he and Steve Nash have had “honest conversations” both about last season and the upcoming one. He reiterated the need for “high character players” and said he “could see no reason why” both Joe Harris and Seth Curry won’t be back healthy and ready for camp. “The ultimate goal hasn’t changed, that’s to be the last team standing.”
Young LeBron James has been found. Marquis “Mookie” Cook, a high-ranking high school basketball player, has been cast as the NBA superstar in Shooting Stars, Universal and SpringHill Co.’s adaptation of the 2009 book by James and Buzz Bissinger.