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#pounditSaturday, January 22, 2022

Articles tagged: Goran Dragic

Heat could reunite with one of their former All-Stars?

Goran Dragic looking on

The Miami Heat already reunited with Mario Chalmers, but their next potential reunion could be an even more impactful one.

Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported on Saturday that former Heat guard Goran Dragic “would love nothing more” than to return to the team. Winderman added that Dragic was in attendance for Miami’s home game against the Washington Wizards earlier in the week.

The 35-year-old Dragic was a core player for Miami for many years, having played the previous seven NBA seasons with them. That included an All-Star selection in 2018, a trip to the Finals with the Heat in 2020, and becoming a beloved fan favorite along the way. However, the Heat traded Dragic to the Toronto Raptors this past summer as part of the Kyle Lowry sign-and-trade.

Dragic has made just five appearances for the rebuilding Raptors this year, and his current status is clouded in a bit of mystery. He took a sudden and indefinite leave of absence from the team in November. Details remain scarce about why he left and when he might be back.

The veteran guard also posted a video of himself working out at the Heat team facility on Friday. Former teammate Jimmy Butler was among those to “like” and comment on the video. Dragic has since deleted the post though.

Winderman notes that the Heat cannot directly reacquire Dragic from the Raptors this season due to CBA rules. That means that a third team would have to get involved (e.g. Dragic is traded elsewhere, gets bought out by his new team, and then re-signs with the Heat). But Dragic never really seemed keen on Toronto in the first place, so it makes sense that he would ideally like to return to Miami.

Photo: Feb 15, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) warms up before a game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Goran Dragic takes sudden leave of absence from Raptors

Goran Dragic

Goran Dragic has played very sparingly for the Toronto Raptors this season, and now he is taking an unexpected leave of absence from the team.

The Raptors announced on Sunday that Dragic will be away from the team indefinitely due to personal reasons.

Raptors general manager Bobby Webster issued a statement on the veteran.

“Goran is taking some time away from the team, with our full support, to manage a personal matter,” the statement read. “He has been a complete professional in the time that he has been with the Raptors.

“Goran has been a great mentor to our younger players and a valued teammate for our veterans,” Webster added in the statement. “He will continue to work out and stay in shape during his time away. There is no definite timeline for this process, and we will advise updates as appropriate. Goran has the backing of [president] Masai [Ujiri], [coach] Nick [Nurse], and the entire organization, and we wish him nothing but the best.”

The 35-year-old Dragic has made just five appearances for the sub-.500 Raptors this season. With Fred VanVleet entrenched as the starting point guard and the Raptors looking to develop their younger players, there has not been much playing time afforded to Dragic.

Dragic, a former All-Star, was acquired by the Raptors this past offseason in the Kyle Lowry deal. He has been a popular inclusion in buyout rumors and also made headlines for some curious comments upon arriving in Toronto. But it sounds like Dragic has earned the respect of the Raptors organization and has their total support as he takes his leave of absence.

Photo: Ailura/Wikimedia via CC BY-SA 3.0 AT

No, Heat did not disrespect Goran Dragic by giving away his jersey number

Goran Dragic

The Miami Heat were not as callous with one of their beloved former players as it might have seemed at first glance.

The team officially announced on Sunday that newly-acquired guard Kyle Lowry will wear the No. 7 jersey in Miami.

While that is the number Lowry has worn throughout his NBA career, many pointed out that the Heat seem to have done Goran Dragic, the previous No. 7 for Miami, dirty. Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press reported however that Lowry will be wearing No. 7 with the blessing of Dragic.

The former All-Star Dragic was traded to the Toronto Raptors as part of the package for Lowry. At the time of the trade, Dragic was one of the longest-tenured Heat players as well as a major fan favorite for his loyalty and commitment to the team over the years.

The Heat have not always done right by their franchise legends. But Dragic giving the OK for Lowry to wear his old jersey number means that there was no disrespect here.

Photo: Ailura/Wikimedia via CC BY-SA 3.0 AT

Goran Dragic expected to land with Dallas Mavericks?

Goran Dragic

Could Goran Dragic end up with the Dallas Mavericks? One NBA reporter thinks so.

Dragic was sent by the Miami Heat to the Toronto Raptors in the sign-and-trade deal involving Kyle Lowry. Dragic was with the Heat for six and a half seasons and was heavily recruited to re-sign with them. So he was understandably disappointed to be traded.

Dragic seemed to suggest last month that he wasn’t interested in playing for Toronto.

NBA reporter Jake Fischer said on the Halftime App that he has heard Dragic is expected to be bought out by the Raptors and then sign with the Mavericks.

Dragic is making $19.4 million next season after his option was picked up by Miami. He is set to be a free agent after the season.

The 35-year-old guard averaged 13.4 points per game last season.

Photo: Ailura/Wikimedia via CC BY-SA 3.0 AT

Goran Dragic clarifies comments about playing for Raptors

Goran Dragic

Goran Dragic raised some eyebrows Monday when he suggested that he wasn’t particularly happy about being traded to the Toronto Raptors. Later in the day, he did some cleanup on those remarks.

Dragic said in an interview on Slovenian television that he had “higher ambitions” than playing for the Raptors, and that Toronto had not been his preferred destination. Naturally, those remarks made it back to Toronto, where a number of Raptors fans were unimpressed with the first comments they had heard from their new point guard.

In light of the response, Dragic spoke to Michael Grange of Sportsnet to clarify his remarks. Dragic apologized and said his words had not come out right, and that he would remain professional and play as hard as he could for Toronto while there.

It’s pretty easy to read between the lines regarding Dragic’s initial comments. He has nothing against the Raptors or the city of Toronto. However, the 35-year-old wants to compete for a championship, while the Raptors are in the middle of a retooling process instead. That makes being traded by the Miami Heat even more disappointing.

The Raptors could ship out more big names before their current rebuild is over. If he’s lucky, Dragic may be able to get a buyout, but at worst, he’s a free agent at the end of the 2021-22 season.

Photo: Ailura/Wikimedia via CC BY-SA 3.0 AT

Goran Dragic suggests he does not want to play for Raptors

Goran Dragic

Goran Dragic was one of the key pieces acquired by the Toronto Raptors in the sign-and-trade involving Kyle Lowry. However, it doesn’t sound like Dragic is particularly pleased with that.

In a new interview with Slovenian television, Dragic is quoted as saying Toronto was “not my preferred destination” and he has “higher ambitions” than playing for the Raptors.

Dragic is entering the final year of a $19.4 million contract. There had been some speculation that the Raptors would consider buying the 35-year-old out, but reports have indicated that the team would prefer to keep him. It sounds like a buyout might be the veteran’s preferred scenario, but for now, it’s not up to him.

As an added wrinkle, the Lowry-Dragic deal is one of two that the NBA is investigating for possible tampering, though it appears unlikely to be voided completely.

Photo: Ailura/Wikimedia via CC BY-SA 3.0 AT

Goran Dragic challenges Bam Adebayo to be more aggressive against Bucks

Bam Adebayo

Bam Adebayo was nearly invisible in Miami’s Game 1 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. Now one of his teammates is trying to light a fire under him.

Heat guard Goran Dragic told reporters this weekend that Adebayo needs to assert himself more in their first-round playoff series.

“I feel like he needs to be more aggressive,” said Dragic, per Brendan Tobin of 790 The Ticket in Miami. “I’m not saying to take that midrange shot. He’s got that ability to put that ball on the floor and be more physical and try to challenge them at the rim. I know [Bucks center Brook] Lopez is big but … [Bam] can score many ways against him.”

The All-Star big man Adebayo played 41 minutes in the overtime loss to Milwaukee on Saturday. But he finished with just nine points on 4-for-15 shooting. Against the seven-footer Lopez, Adebayo was indeed resorting to taking awkward floaters instead of driving it hard to the basket.

Of course, Adebayo was not the only reason that the Heat lost. Jimmy Butler (4-for-22) and Tyler Herro (2-for-10) shot even worse from the field. But Adebayo’s confidence was crucial to Miami’s Finals run last season. The Heat will need that same level of production from the 23-year-old if they want to make noise again this year.

Heat eyeing Kyle Lowry-Goran Dragic swap?

Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic were once teammates on the Houston Rockets. Now they could find themselves getting traded for one another.

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported on Sunday that the Miami Heat have expressed interest in acquiring Lowry from the Toronto Raptors. Dragic is one of the players who has reportedly been discussed. Scotto also mentions Kelly Olynyk and Kendrick Nunn as possible Heat inclusions in the package.

Lowry and Dragic are contemporaries in both age and NBA experience. They are also both beloved veterans with their respective teams who have been central to the culture-building process over the last several years.

Scotto notes that Dragic is on a one-year contract with Bird rights, meaning that he can veto any trade. Lowry also seems to be adamant that he does not expect to go anywhere at the trade deadline. Those hurdles might make this potential point guard swap a bit more complicated. But it is still very much a possibility, particularly if Lowry and the Heat believe they can better contend together.

Photo: Chensiyuan/Wikimedia via CC-by-S.A. 4.0

Goran Dragic says Jimmy Butler threatened him if he did not re-sign with Heat

Jimmy Butler

The Miami Heat were able to lock up Goran Dragic for another two seasons, and that is very good news for all parties.

Dragic is getting a two-year contract with Miami for $37.4 million. The Heat went all-out to convey the message that they wanted Dragic to stay with the team. They put up posters and billboards all over Dragic’s home in Slovenia to show how much they wanted him.

Another person who wanted Dragic back badly was Butler. Dragic told the AP’s Tim Reynolds that Butler (half-seriously) threatened him with physical violence if he didn’t re-sign.

“Jimmy’s a tough guy. … I didn’t want him chasing my a–,” Dragic joked.

Crisis averted, because Dragic is back. And we wouldn’t put it past Butler to do everything possible to ensure Dragic returned.

The Heat have a lot to build upon from last season. The team only finished fifth in the East in the regular season, but they made a run to the NBA Finals. Dragic and Bam Adebayo got injured during the Finals, which changed things and even led to a controversial comment from Pat Riley.

With Dragic back, Miami can now continue to improve and see if they can break through for a championship.

Pat Riley hints at Heat re-signing Goran Dragic this offseason

Goran Dragic

Goran Dragic’s season did not end how he would have hoped, but it sounds like he will get a chance to run it back with the Miami Heat again next year.

Speaking with the media on Friday, Heat president Pat Riley hinted at the team re-signing Dragic, an unrestricted free agent, this offseason. Riley made a point of mentioning Dragic as a player that the Heat would like to take care of, per Five Reasons Sports Network.

Dragic, now 34 years old, was Miami’s top scorer and primary ballhandler for much of their NBA Finals run. However, he tore the plantar fascia in his left foot and played a total of just 34 minutes in the championship series. With the Heat winning two games against the Los Angeles Lakers without Dragic and being within striking distance in a couple of others, a healthy Dragic likely would have made a big difference.

In any case, Dragic has been with the Heat since 2015. Over that years, he has constantly sacrificed for the team, accepting reducing roles and stepping aside at times for Miami to focus on developing their young players. Dragic even said before that he was open to take a discount to return. It seems only right though for the Heat to reward him for his loyalty and selflessness.

Photo: Ailura/Wikimedia via CC BY-SA 3.0 AT