Goran Dragic is still technically a member of the Miami Heat, but the team already knows that he will decline his player option and become an unrestricted free agent, Marc Stein of ESPN reports.
Stein recently said that league sources told him the Heat will likely be “highly aggressive” in their pursuit to keep the 29-year old in South Beach. He reported that the Heat planned to offer Dragic a five-year contract that is worth in excess of $80 million when free agency starts on July 1.
10 more days 'til Heat can put full-court press on Goran Dragic for fast verbal agreement in free agency. ESPN link: http://t.co/SZdQc4SJ76
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 21, 2015
Dragic came over to the Heat from the Phoenix Suns on trade deadline day along with Zoran Dragic (his brother) for Danny Granger, Norris Cole, Shawne Williams, Justin Hamilton, as well as a pair of future first round draft selections — 2017 (top-seven protected) and one from 2021.
The Heat went 16-14 after acquiring Dragic, but just 13-13 with him in the lineup. Miami (37-45) ended up missing the playoffs by a single game. Dragic averaged 16.6 points, 5.3 assists and 3.4 rebounds with the Heat. He also shot 50.2 percent from the field, 32.9 percent from the three-point line, and 80.8 percent from the charity stripe. Overall, Dragic averaged 16.3 points, 4.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds last season.
Miami was much better on the offensive end with Dragic in the lineup, but also much worse on defensive end. He was third on the team in win share percentage and offensive win shares according to Basketball-Reference. Dragic had an offensive rating of 115 and a defensive rating of 110 (No. 14 on the team).
Despite missing the playoffs, Dragic appears to want to come back to the Heat. He has told several South Florida reporters that it is his desire is to return to Miami, however, he plans to consider every offer that he receives.
The Heat have also made it known of their intention of bringing back Dragic, which makes the non-max offer a little preculiar. Miami is the only team that can offer Dragic a five-year contract since it owns his Bird rights. A max deal from the Heat can be over $100 million while other teams have the ability to just four-year contract, worth as much as $85 million.
The Sporting News is reporting one of the reasons that the Heat aren’t planning to offer Dragic a max contract is that they face salary cap problems. Both Dwyane Wade ($16.1 million) and Luol Deng ($10.2 million) have yet to make a decision on their player options.
Dragic, the top 2015 free agent point guard, is expected to garner plenty of offers this offseason. The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly very interested in the 6-foot-3 guard as are the New York Knicks, Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans and Milwaukee Bucks. Ben Rosales of SB Nation noted that the Lakers have expressed a willingness to give Dragic a max deal.
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