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Even having been cast aside, Dragic adores the Heat, sources said. Serious veterans appreciate Riley’s commitment to winning. “We never once spoke about Miami as a city,” Butler’s agent, Bernie Lee, told me last year in explaining Butler’s desire to be there. “Obviously it’s an amazing place with amazing people, but Jimmy wasn’t going there for the beach. Since he’s gotten there, I think we have gone out to eat less than 10 times and one of them was the Super Bowl. We didn’t even talk about the tax advantages. The only questions he asked were of the background of the people involved and how they would build out the team.”
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.