Report: Goran Dragic signing with Nets after buyout

Goran Dragic and Kyrie Irving in Miami Heat v Brooklyn Nets
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Already feared for grouping Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden, the Nets caused a firestorm by signing Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge after buyouts last season. Brooklyn nabbed widely coveted free agent Patty Mills last summer. Later in the offseason, the Nets also landed Paul Millsap, who had his pick of teams.

Brooklyn’s latest small-level coup: Goran Dragic, who took a buyout upon getting dealt from the Raptors to the Spurs just before the trade deadline.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Nets are theoretically loaded at point guard with Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, Patty Mills and now Dragic.

But Irving remains a part-time player. Acquired for Harden, Simmons isn’t playing yet and might be a forward in Brooklyn, anyway. Mills is better described as an undersized scoring guard.

The Nets might present the optimal opportunity for the 35-year-old Dragic to play without being overly burdened – and maybe win a ring. Though Brooklyn has struggled lately, the team’s upside remains elite with Durant and the possibility of Irving becoming fully available.

Like many bought-out players, Dragic likely carries more name recognition than playing ability at this point. After impressing with the 2020 Eastern Conference champion Heat (both before and in the bubble), Dragic regressed last season in Miami. Used as matching salary in the Kyle Lowry sign-and-trade, Dragic barely played for Toronto before leaving the team he never wanted to join in the first place.

Carter has really struggled this season. However, the Nets now lock his $3.92 million salary for next season onto their books (either all next season or, if stretched, $1,306,667 each of the next three seasons). For a team deep into the luxury tax, that dead money is not trivial.