When LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Los Angeles Lakers in the last free agency, the Miami Heat were one of the NBA teams who aimed to become the new ruler of the Eastern Conference in the 2018-19 NBA season. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as the Heat planned, especially after their best player, Goran Dragic, suffered a knee injury. Dragic was able to rejoin the Heat in February, but he failed to immediately return to his All-Star form.
Goran Dragic and the Heat failed to consistently win the final games of the 2018-19 NBA season, resulting in them finishing as the No. 10 seed in the Eastern Conference. When the season is officially over, Dragic is set to make a tough decision regarding his future with the Heat. In an interview with Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald, the 32-year-old Slovenian point guard admitted that he had a meeting with Heat president Pat Riley, but he remains undecided whether he will opt into the final year of his contract with Miami or not.
“I didn’t think about it,” Dragic said. “I was just at home having a good time with my kids. I had a meeting with Pat [Riley] and that was it. I told him I’m going to make my decision when that comes. So I still need to talk to the family, the agent. Right now, I just wanted to have at least two weeks to one month completely off, enjoy my vacation with them. When it’s going to be time for business, we’re going to sit down and talk.”
Goran Dragic weighing his options when it comes to a Heat opt-in decision that could change team's offseason. https://t.co/Qz4jeIMhA5
— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) April 27, 2019
Goran Dragic revealed that there are two factors that will play a major role in his decision in the 2019 NBA offseason. The first will be his family and second is winning. Dragic said that he and his family are happy in Miami, but it remains a big question mark if staying with the Heat will put him anywhere near winning his first NBA championship.
If Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside opt-in and the Heat decide to guarantee the contracts of Derrick Jones Jr., Yante Maten, Duncan Robinson, and Kendrick Nunn for the 2019-20 NBA season, the Heat will have $140 million in salaries on their book. Chiang suggested that the Heat could save $6 million by waiving Ryan Anderson by July 10, and they could go under the luxury tax line if Dragic opts out of the final year of his contract and signs a multiyear deal at lower money.
However, if Goran Dragic opts out, there is a strong chance that he will first hear what other NBA teams are willing to offer before re-signing with the Heat. Other NBA teams who could go after Dragic in the 2019 NBA free agency include the Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic, Dallas Mavericks, and the Phoenix Suns.