Regardless of how this season ends for the Miami Heat (playoffs or not), they would like to keep Goran Dragic at the end of this season, although it’s going to be more expensive than the player option he’s going to decline.
Dragic holds a player option worth $7.5 million for the 2015-2016 NBA Season, but he knows he’s worth more on the free agency market. The whole trade from the Suns to the Heat in February came after Dragic made it quite clear to the Suns that he’s going to opt out and has no intention of re-signing with them. He’s feeling a bit differently about staying in Miami.
I’m a free agent. I like this organization. Hopefully, I can stay here and try to have a good season next year. The future is bright. If you look, one of the main guys is out and that’s Chris Bosh. Dwyane Wade was hurt most of the season. It’s really tough to say because I was not here the whole season. Like all the players were saying, they went through some hard times. That’s what I love about this team. They never surrendered.
In the open market, without actually knowing what the salary cap is going to be, Dragic is probably going to make an eight-figure salary, maybe even something around $13 million or a bit more. He’s about to turn 29 but is still in his prime as far as ability is concerned and can play both guard positions, although his scoring has dropped off this season to around 16 points per game and even more significantly per possession and minutes compared to last season.
The Heat don’t have a lot of wiggle room as far as offering big money, which means going over the tax. With Dragic and the other player options intact(Dwyane Wade for $16.5 million, Luol Deng for $10.1 million), the Heat are going to pay over $80 million next season before the tax. Giving Dragic the contract he wants without making some changes seems quite difficult for a team that’s not too keen about overpaying by that much, especially when winning a title doesn’t seem that plausible in the current Eastern conference scenario.