League sources told Sporting News this week that one team to watch in the Conley hunt is Miami, which is waiting on Goran Dragic’s decision on his $19 million player option for next year. Heat president Pat Riley has long coveted Conley – Miami was interested in signing Conley before he re-signed with Memphis three years ago – and still wants to bring him to South Florida.
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An associate of Dragic said he would be very surprised if Dragic does not opt into the final year of his Heat contract but said it ultimately comes down to this: Dragic very much likes playing for the Heat and it’s a good situation for him. The question is whether an incredible different situation should present himself before his June 29 opt-out date. That could mean a championship contender or another appealing team hinting to him or his associates, through back-channels, that he should opt out and that a rich multiyear contract awaits. Though players under contract cannot talk to other teams before July 1, it’s common for messages to be discreetly delivered in general terms.
Goran Dragic has a decision to make this offseason: Opt out for possibly one final multiyear contract or wait another year before becoming a free agent. The point guard isn’t ready to make that decision. “I didn’t think about it,” Dragic said during a Friday afternoon appearance where he surprised guests and bought them lunch at a Doral Chick-fil-A as part of the “Random Acts of Heat” initiative. “I was just at home having a good time with my kids. I had a meeting with Pat [Riley] and that was it. I told him I’m going to make my decision when that comes. So I still need to talk to the family, the agent.
“Right now, I just wanted to have at least two weeks to one month completely off, enjoy my vacation with them. When it’s going to be time for business, we’re going to sit down and talk.” Dragic, who turns 33 on May 6, has until June 29 to decide on the player option in his contract for next season worth $19.2 million. He just finished the fourth season of a five-year, $85 million deal he signed with the Heat in the summer of 2015.
Tim Reynolds: Dragic hasn’t made any decision yet on next year and his contract. Season still too fresh. Has until the last week of June to figure it out.
Out for dinner this week, Dragic was approached by about a dozen people seeking autographs or selfies — plus one who wanted him to have a video chat with a child home studying. Dragic never complained, routinely getting up from his soup, salad, broiled snapper and cappuccino nightcap to accommodate every request. “This is where I want to be,” Dragic said. “Everything here, it’s the way I want it.”
The Lakers originally viewed Heat guard Goran Dragic as a free-agency target. But they changed their mind after falling in love with Russell in pre-draft workouts and holding optimism they could land a front-court player in free-agency. “I didn’t think about it. The Miami Heat came first and they offered a good deal,” said Dragic, who re-signed with the Heat to a five-year contract worth $90 million. “This was the right place for me and my family. It’s a winning culture here and they are doing an amazing job.”
Which players did you focus on? Phil Jackson: “Goran Dragic, for one. I heard through the grapevine that he was open to coming here. We worked hard on that possibility, but the asking price was too dear. Maybe we worked on that possibility so much so that it distracted us. I mean, Dragic is every team’s current choice for a nuclear option — a guard who can penetrate and either score or kick. Guys like Chris Paul and James Harden. But, anyway, that’s not really the way I want us to play.”
Marc Stein: On first day of free agency, sources tell ESPN that the Heat and Dragic have come to terms on five-year deal with player option after Year 4
That’s less than the $115 million Miami can offer but more than the four years and $86 million that another team can offer. The Heat and the Dragic camp remain optimistic a deal will get done with Miami.
Amid an ESPN report that the Heat will offer Goran Dragic a five-year deal in excess of $80 million, we hear the proposal is actually expected to be five years for between $90 million and $100 million.
The Miami Heat already know Goran Dragic is bypassing his player option for next season to become a free agent July 1, but league sources say they plan to be highly aggressive in trying to secure a commitment from their new point guard early in free agency.
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May 25, 2019 | 5:10 am EDT Update
Mike D’Antoni said negotiations are taking place that he is hopeful will keep him in Houston beyond next season. D’Antoni has one year left on his Rockets deal. “We’ve been in contract discussions and we still are about the extension,” D’Antoni said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports. “I think I can go two or three more years at the level I want to be at and everything will play out in the near future.”
D’Antoni said a lot of work has already been done toward completing a contract extension. “It’s a good ways (into it). I don’t do it. That’s my agent. He takes care of that stuff. They’ve been discussing it for a long time now. It just hasn’t been a couple weeks. It’s been awhile that they’ve been talking. So they’ll figure it out. “Everybody likes security. It’s just a matter of okay this is the direction the organization wants to go. I want to be a part of it. It’s just normal business and we just got to take care of business.”
The overhaul of the Rockets coaching staff took several additional deep cuts on Friday, with the Rockets letting four more staff members know they would not be back next season. Rockets assistant coach Roy Rogers will not receive a new contract for next season, his agent Warren LeGarie said on Friday, making Rogers the second top assistant on Mike D’Antoni’s staff for the past three seasons that will not be offered a new contract. Rockets assistant Mitch Vanya, video coordinator John Cho were also told they would not be brought back, a person with knowledge of the decision said. Rockets player development assistant Irv Roland said on Friday that he was also told he would not be back.
Irving apologized to James for the way things ended between them in Cleveland, and the All-Star guard reportedly “has had discussions” about joining the Lakers this summer. A James-Irving reunion might seem far-fetched, but the two stars hung out together Thursday in Los Angeles, and then James liked a photoshopped picture of Irving in a Lakers jersey.
Even though the Lakers talk is the hot rumor, ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan poured some cold water on it Friday on the latest Hoop Collective podcast. “I did a little digging around and my feeling is very strongly that while LeBron and Kyrie have kissed and made up, that Kyrie is not going there,” she said. “He’s just not. I just don’t believe it. And I think people close to him just don’t believe it either.”