The Miami Heat would love to re-sign Goran Dragic who came midway through the season via trade to try and help them make the playoffs, ultimately failing. They’re going to be facing some serious competition for the Slovenian guard’s attention coming from the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Sacramento Kings.
Dragic averaged 16.6 points per game for the Heat (26 games) and had a nice net rating of +5 on a beaten up and overall bad team. He can play both guard positions and doesn’t mind co-existing with ball-dominant guards next to him like Eric Bledsoe or Dwyane Wade. Dragic has said he would like to stay in Miami, as he’s going to opt out of his $7.5 million deal to get something closer to the max.
However, even without his current deal, the Heat have $72.5 million committed to the payroll. Giving Dragic that massive contract means they’ll be paying around $90 million in salaries not to mention other upgrades they need to make, unless Pat Riley can convince Luol Deng and Wade to opt out of their deals ($26.2 million combined) and take a lower salary to make things work. Wade already did it once last year, so who knows how much patience he has for losing money.
The Knicks have all the cap space in the world, but not a lot to offer in terms of talent around him. Carmelo Anthony, and that’s it. Jose Calderon is on the team (eating $7.4 million in cap space), Shane Larkin (who the Knicks might dump, wiggling out of the team option), Tim Hardaway Jr., Cleanthony Early and Langston Galloway. They can give Dragic a massive deal (although there are others on their list worth waiting for and paying for), but is he the player who goes after money or title prospects.
The Lakers will be another team keeping tabs on Dragic, although like the Knicks (and everyone else) they’ll be wanting to see what LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol and maybe Kevin Love will be doing. The backcourt right now looks like Jordan Clarkson and Kobe Bryant, which means two players who love the ball in their hands, but both aren’t actually point guards. Dragic could be a very good addition to a team that has the #2 overall draft pick keeping them optimistic.
And what about the Kings? Sacramento have DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay, which means Dragic could be more of a facilitator than a scorer, something he did more of last season. But the Kings are short on cap space, with $54.6 million committed to next season. Maybe they can move some players around (Darren Collison, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry), but they’ll probably find it difficult to match the offers Dragic can get elsewhere, although he probably shouldn’t be a max-kind of player. If someone is willing to pay, players take it.