Given the possibility that the Toronto Raptors might lose guard Fred VanVleet to free agency after his breakout 2019-20 season, a recent report has suggested that the team could make up for his potential loss in the offseason by signing veteran guard Goran Dragic as a free agent.
In a list of recommended free-agent signings published Wednesday by Bleacher Report, the outlet noted that the above suggestion is contingent on VanVleet leaving Toronto to play elsewhere and the Raptors choosing to re-sign veteran big men Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol for one more year as longtime starter Kyle Lowry plays the final year of his contract in 2020-21. As further explained, Dragic could be "Toronto's man" in the above situation -- a "trustworthy" backup to Lowry at the position who could still play at a high level at 34 years old.
"Dragic can't expect anything close to the $19.2 million he's collecting with the Heat this season, and the Raptors' desire to keep the books clean for 2021 means he might also have to settle for a one-year deal and/or accept a partial guarantee on the second season," the publication continued, stressing that the team needs to make sure it has enough salary-cap space to make a run at 2018-19 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, assuming he becomes available next summer.
Despite starting just one out of the 54 games he has played for the Miami Heat in 2019-20, Dragic has put up starting-caliber numbers for the team, which is ranked fourth place in the Eastern Conference ahead of the NBA's July 30 restart. Per Basketball-Reference, the Slovenian guard is averaging 16.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 5.1 assists and shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from three-point range.
Should the defending NBA champions sign Dragic this offseason as Bleacher Report suggested, he will have some big shoes to fill, considering VanVleet's performance in the 2019-20 campaign. According to his Basketball-Reference player page, he is currently averaging career-highs of 17.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 1.9 steals per game while also converting 40.9 percent of his attempts from the field and 38.8 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.
The Raptors aren't the only Eastern Conference rival that has been suggested this month as a possible landing spot for Dragic. As reported previously by The Inquisitr, the former Most Improved Player winner was mentioned as a potential acquisition for the Philadelphia 76ers, as well as a player who could be a "perfect fit" alongside the Sixers' All-Star duo of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.