Goran Dragic says he’ll still explore free agency, hopes to stay with Heat

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Goran Dragic got his wish.

The Suns traded him to the Heat, one of his preferred teams. Miami reportedly plans to offer him a max contract this summer.

That closes the door on Dragic’s free agency – which he once said would include every team as a viable option  – right?

Dragic, via Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report:

I’m going to stay in the hotel until the end of the season, and then we’re going to see how the team is going to develop. I just want to be focused on trying to help the team as much as possible get to the playoffs. But at the end of the season, of course I’m going to think about that option of staying. I’m really hoping to stay in Miami because I really like it, but you never know. I’m a free agent, so I’m going to explore my options.

Dragic should explore his options. That’s not only his right once he declines his $7.5 player option, it’s wise. Why not hear out teams?

But that process will almost assuredly lead him back to Miami.

He can make more money if he re-signs with the Heat (yellow) than he could get elsewhere (red):

image

Season Re-sign Sign elsewhere
2016 $19,027,800 $19,027,800
2017 $20,454,885 $19,884,051
2018 $21,881,970 $20,740,302
2019 $23,309,055 $21,596,553
2020 $24,736,140
Total $109,409,850 $81,248,706

That fifth year is very significant. I don’t see anyone paying a 33-year-old Dragic $24 million if he comes a free agent at 33.

Plus, the Heat value Dragic, evidenced by the two first rounders they traded for him. He could join Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside to form a solid and balanced lineup.

The Lakers might still have a chance to lure Dragic, and it sounds as if he’ll listen to their pitch. But I’d be pretty surprised if he doesn’t wind up back in Miami.