Miami Heat trade rumors indicate an offer is on the table from the Orlando Magic. The Heat player at the center of these rumors is starting point guard Goran Dragic, who the team has made available for the right price. A report by NBA analyst Marc Stein has Orlando offering center Nikola Vucevic and a future first-round pick to Miami in exchange for Dragic. While this might seem like a good deal on paper, Miami already has Hassan Whiteside serving as the primary center for the franchise.
Having a tandem of Vucevic and Whiteside in the low post might make the Miami Heat much better on defense. The problem is that the team would be giving up its best guard to make the deal, likely not improving the overall look of the team. In the updated NBA standings, Miami now has the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference at 13-30. To the credit of the team, they have won two straight games, but Miami still isn’t considered to be in the race for one of the final playoff spots.
Goran Dragic has played in 35 games for the Miami Heat this season, becoming the focal point of the offense since Dwyane Wade signed with the Chicago Bulls. On 34.4 minutes a night, Dragic is averaging 19.4 points, 6.3 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game. He is shooting 41.0 percent from three-point range and has also been getting to the free throw line more often than in the past. Getting more minutes for the Heat, Dragic has shown the flash that he did back in the 2013-14 NBA season with the Phoenix Suns.
On the other side of the offer, Nikola Vucevic has been an important part of the Orlando Magic, but the team is trying to improve on offense for a run at one of the final spots in the 2017 NBA Playoffs. Vucevic has seen his numbers take a hit during the 2016-17 NBA season with fewer minutes on the court. He is now averaging 13.7 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.0 blocks per game. Coming off the bench for 20 games this season, it has become clear that Vucevic is expendable as the team tries to move forward.
As far as the contracts go, Nikola Vucevic makes $11.75 million this year, $12.25 million in the 2017-18 NBA season, and then $12.75 million in the final year of his deal. Goran Dragic is paid $15.89 million this season, followed by salaries of $17 million, $18.11 million, and then $19.22 million in the 2019-20 NBA season. The final year of his contract is a player option, giving Dragic and his team some flexibility for that year. In long-term deals like this one, the player typically opts out of the final season.
The NBA trade deadline is coming up quickly, with February 23 set as the final date that teams can make deals. There have been many Miami Heat trade rumors this season, with the two main components being either Hassan Whiteside or Goran Dragic. The two players have long-term contracts with the Heat but haven’t been able to keep the team very competitive this year. This is why so many rumors have been floating around the NBA, with team president Pat Riley forced to make some important decisions about the future of the franchise.
The best thing going for Miami is that the team could end up with a high lottery pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. There are a lot of players coming out of college who could be immediate difference makers, meaning Miami might not be too far off from contending again. At the same time, it could be very enticing to have another franchise offer a first-round pick, as it would give the team another future asset. Even though the latest Miami Heat trade rumors haven’t resulted in a deal yet, fans of the team should expect the chatter to continue until the deadline hits.
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