Miami didn’t give up a ton to get Dragic, but they did part ways with Norris Cole and two future first-round draft picks for what was only guaranteed to be a rental of no more than 27 games.
Of course, the Heat traded for Dragic believing that he’d be willing to consider signing with the franchise long-term, and that has theoretically been the plan all along. While Dragic has said he plans to wade through all of the offers he receives from other teams, he admitted that the fifth year Miami can offer on a max deal is one of the Heat’s big advantages.
“There has not been any indication, any discussion at all with he or his representatives about anything other than when I made the trade and gave up two picks for him. You roll the dice,” Riley said. “But you also feel good about the fact that we’re in a very good position to offer him more than anybody else.”
The fifth, additional, year that only the Heat are allowed to offer could be worth as much as $26.2 million.
“It’s pretty big,” Dragic said of securing such a fifth season. “Because every player wants to sign as long as he can. Of course, my goal is to stay in that spot that I’m going to sign.”
While it is difficult to overlook an additional $30 million, Dragic said it also will be about more than money.
“I mean, of course every offer, we’re going to go through,” he said, with the Los Angeles Lakers among the potential suitors. “But I think that the most important thing is the team, who is around me, what kind of style. Because, first of all, I want to be happy, happy to play that style of basketball that I want to play. And I think that’s the main thing for now, not the money.”
After clashing with the Suns front office, Dragic should be happy with the stability of the Miami organization, with Pat Riley firmly in command and Erik Spoelstra seemingly not going anywhere after just completing his seventh Heat season.
If he trusts that Miami can rebuild quickly, that (along with a fifth year on a shiny new max contract) might be enough to convince him to re-sign with the Heat, instead of pursuing other opportunities that will likely be there in places like L.A. or New York if he wants them.