Former Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry joining the Miami Heat was easily one of the most exciting moves this offseason, but it didn’t come cheap or without sacrifice. In exchange for the six-time All-Star, the Heat sent Toronto Precious Achiuwa and fan favorite, Goran Dragic.
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After being traded for Lowry, it was widely assumed that Dragic would be bought out and traded to a team of his choice. But Toronto has “resisted external interest” in the Slovenian star, as reported by Marc Stein. If Dragic got his wish, however, it’s largely believed he’d land with the Dallas Mavericks alongside fellow countryman Luka Doncic.
After Doncic shared a photo with Dragic on his Instagram stories, rumors that the Mavericks would eventually land the veteran guard resurfaced. On September 8, The Athletic‘s Tim Kato confirmed those rumors, reporting that “the Mavericks remain confident Dragic will end of on the roster one way or another.”
On Dragic’s Instagram page, his bio still states that he’s a “Professional basketball player for @raptors” which makes it seem like he’s resigned to the idea of playing in Canada.
Dragic’s IG Photo at the FTX Arena in Miami Jumpstarted Rumors He’s Returning to the Heat
On September 7, Dragic got Heat fans all riled up after he posted a photo of himself in workout clothes, walking out the tunnel at the FTX Arena in Miami. The photo, which earned a “like” from former teammate and best friend Jimmy Butler, was posted without a caption.
While the photo is likely from before he was traded, Dragic’s comments section flooded nonetheless.
“Please tell us you’re going back to Miami next season,” one woman commented, while another man wrote, “That man misses Miami fr.”
Despite fans pleading for his return, Dragic posted a heartfelt goodbye to Miami on Instagram on August 3. Even though he’s no longer playing in South Beach, Dragic will forever be a “Heat Lifer.”
Five Reasons Sports Network’s Adam Borai tweeted, “Goran Dragić is a Miami HEAT legend. The Dragon played seven seasons for the HEAT, & as fans- we’re honored to call you a Heat Lifer. Your jersey will hang in the rafters one day soon. We’ll always root for you Gogi @Goran_Dragic.”
Dragic Is Set to Make $19.4 Million For the 2021 Season
As it stands, Dragic is due to make $19.4 million this season before he hits unrestricted free agency ahead of the 2022-23 season.
Last season, Dragic averaged 13.4 points and 4.4 assists in 50 games, while shooting 37.3% from three-point range. The Heat exercised their club option on Dragic ($19.4 million, via Spotrac) in order to create salary-cap space for Lowry.
Any team trading for the 2018 All-Star would have to pick Dragic’s sizable salary, or if Raptors buy Dragic out at a reduced sum, he’d be able to hit the open market and agree to sign a deal that what would likely be negotiated to a lower price.