MIAMI (AP) — Goran Dragic is still house-hunting in Miami. Other than that, everything is exactly the way the Miami Heat point guard wants.
That’s a far cry from how things were last season.
When Dragic came to the Heat in a trade with Phoenix last February, just about everything in his life seemed unsettled. He was about to enter free agency. His wife was going through a pregnancy that was sometimes difficult. He had to learn a new team, a new system, a new city – without knowing if he was going to be in Miami more than a couple months.
Those days are over. He got the five-year deal he wanted from the Heat. He and his wife’s second child, Viktoria, arrived safe and sound in their native Slovenia earlier this summer. An array of aches and pains that dogged him down the stretch last season is no longer an issue. So when the Heat head to Boca Raton, Florida on Monday for a team dinner that precedes the start of training camp there Tuesday, Dragic will be able to play with a clear mind.
“It was a lot of pressure on me,” Dragic said. “But I just wanted to play basketball and right now I’m in a happy place. I’m done with all those things. I only have to focus on the team, on basketball and my family. I think that’s what’s most important and I’m very happy right now.”
His family will remain in Slovenia for a couple more months, meaning the daily Skype calls will be how they stay in touch. Before year’s end, everyone will be together in Miami, presumably in a new home and with Dragic running the point for a team that’s expected to return to contention in the Eastern Conference.
Miami’s probable starting five this season – Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside – were all with the Heat last season, yet never played a second together. Dragic arrived on the same day that Bosh was ruled out for the season with a blood clot on his left lung, so in some ways there is an element of newness to this team.
“Chris makes a huge difference,” Dragic said. “With him it’s a totally different team.”
Dragic said he can’t envision someone better-suited to work with him in pick-and-roll situations than Bosh. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has also raved about those prospects – after all, it’s what Miami had in mind when it made the deal to bring Dragic aboard – and Bosh said he’s spent plenty of time studying film of his point guard’s tendencies.
“I’ve played with players that are similar, that have similar games,” Bosh said. “With his talent level, I think we’ll just be able to read and react off each other, through conversation of course and time on the court. I think it’s going to be pretty good when we get to collaborating and talking about things and I think it’ll show on the court.”
Everything isn’t perfect, yet. There’s still that house to find, still some team-building to go through, and Dragic expects camp to have some trial-and-error regarding what works and what won’t for the Heat.
Compared to a few months ago, it’s all good.
“These are nice problems to have,” Dragic said.