East Rival Emerges as ‘Frontrunner’ to Sign Ex-Heat Star Goran Dragic: Report

Goran Dragic Bulls-Knicks

Getty Chicago Bulls point guard Goran Dragic battles for possession of the ball during a bout with the New York Knicks.

As reported by NBA insider Marc Stein and others, former Miami Heat star Goran Dragic has cleared waivers following his release from the Chicago Bulls. That officially makes the 36-year-old an unrestricted free agent, but he may not be on the market for long.

One of the league’s elite teams is moving quickly to secure his services. Here’s the latest from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:

The Milwaukee Bucks have emerged as frontrunners to sign guard Goran Dragic. He has connected with a few contenders since Bulls waived him, but the East-leading Bucks have moved to forefront of reaching a deal with Dragic.

Milwaukee had designs on inking Dragic last season after he was dumped by the San Antonio Spurs. In the end, though, the Heat alum opted to join the Brooklyn Nets for the stretch run.

Dragic spent parts of seven seasons with the Heat and represented the club in the 2018 All-Star Game. In 2021, he was sent to the Toronto Raptors alongside Precious Achiuwa in the deal that brought Kyle Lowry to South Beach. And he has bounced around the league ever since.

Goran Dragic’s Chicago Bulls Run Fizzled Out

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After the Nets were jettisoned in the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs, Dragic made a surprise return to the Slovenian national team for EuroBasket and FIBA World Cup qualification. He played well, too, so when the Bulls signed him to a vet-min deal with a promise of playing time, it felt like a winning move for both sides.

Despite playing well during the opening weeks of the 2022-23 campaign, however, Dragic was completely out of Billy Donovan’s rotation by the end of his run in the Windy City.

All told, the 15-year pro made 51 appearances in a Bulls uniform, averaging just 6.4 points, 2.7 assists and 1.4 rebounds in 15.4 minutes per game. He also connected on 35.2% of his shots from three-point range.

While Bulls VP Arturas Karnisovas made the surprising decision (initially) to hang onto Dragic amid the Patrick Beverley signing — center Tony Bradley was waived instead — the exec eventually did the combo guard a solid by releasing him ahead of the playoff eligibility deadline.

If Dragic does end up catching on with the Bucks, he’ll be reuniting with some familiar faces. Milwaukee acquired former Heat forward Jae Crowder at the trade deadline. Meanwhile, ex-Heat center Meyers Leonard was just inked to a second 10-day contract, per Woj.

Recent Former Heat Point Guard Also Lands 10-Day

Rookie point guard Jamaree Bouyea, who had been in the Heat’s system dating back to summer league and saw minutes with the big club as recently as last month, has apparently found his next hardwood home. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Bouyea is signing a 10-day contract with the Washington Wizards.

The 23-year-old Bouyea raised eyebrows during training camp and preseason play with Miami. So, the club was keen to shuttle him over to its G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce. In 34 combined Showcase Cup and regular-season games with the Skyforce, Bouyea has averaged 17.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.8 steals.

He was brought back to the Heat via 10-day around the trade deadline and went on to make four appearances for the team. He scored 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting and added three assists, three steals, two boards and a blocked shot during a February 13 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

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