There will be other competitors for Goran Dragic who is waving his relatively low player option for next season, but the Miami Heat are the leading candidate to sign the Slovenian guard and carry on the work they started when they traded for him last season.
Whether Dragic was just a short term fix in an attempt to make the playoffs or part of some long term planning, we’ll probably know soon enough. The facts are these: Dragic has a $7.5 million player option he’s going to waive. He wants something closer to a max deal, which is what he said to the Phoenix Suns who weren’t planning on giving him that so they traded him, basically giving up on making the playoffs.
The Heat are the only team that can offer Dragic, 29, a five-year deal, and are planning on doing so with an $80 million kicker. That’s not a max deal, but not far from it, and it’s unlikely that the 7-year NBA veteran is going to decline such an offer if it does come his way. It says something about how much the Heat appreciate him and his ability to contribute more than they do for Wade, who wants to opt out of his $16.1 million player option and renegotiate a three year deal for more money, while the Heat are trying to bring him down much lower.
Dragic has mentioned a number of times how much he enjoyed Miami and the team, which makes it quite clear he wants to stay. Other teams that might be interested in Dragic can offer him $85 million for four years as a maximum deal, but no one is going to give him that kind of contract. More likely than not, the offer he’s going to get from the Heat is the best one he’s going to see in this free agency period.
Dragic’s arrival in Miami didn’t help them make the playoffs. He averaged 16.6 points per game in 26 appearances, as the Heat fizzled away in the final two weeks of the season, losing the final spot to the playoffs before the final day of the regular season.