Goran Dragic is a free agent. The 34-year-old point guard agreed to a contract buyout with the San Antonio Spurs, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Goran Dragic has agreed to a contract buyout with the Spurs and is entering free agency, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. A slew of teams will now pursue the 14-year veteran.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 15, 2022
Dragic was traded by the Toronto Raptors to the San Antonio Spurs at the NBA’s Trade Deadline last week. Toronto shipped out Dragic and a protected 2022 first-round pick to the Spurs for Thaddeus Young, Drew Eubanks and a 2022 second-round pick. Dragic never appeared in a game for the Spurs. He only played five contests for the Raptors after leaving the team for personal reasons in November.
Dragic was traded from the Miami Heat in the offseason to Toronto in the Kyle Lowry sign-and-trade. Dragic logged 13.4 points and 4.4 assists in 26.7 minutes per game in 2020-21 with the Heat, shooting 37.3 percent from 3-point range. In fact, he was one of five players to average at least 13 points and four assists in fewer than 30 minutes per contest last season. The only other players to accomplish that feat last year were Mike Conley, Derrick Rose, D’Angelo Russell and LaMelo Ball.
Free to sign wherever he chooses, what are the most logical fits for Dragic? Let’s break down the three best destinations for the 14-year veteran.
Goran Dragic Buyout Destinations
3. Goran Dragic Heat
It appears that Dragic has no hard feelings towards the Heat after it moved him in the Lowry sign-and-trade. Dragic recently worked out with Heat forward Markiff Morris.
Dragic has been in South Florida, including working out with Markieff Morris. A Heat reunion, by no means, is out of the question. https://t.co/CEJHet5gSv
— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) February 13, 2022
Miami has two open roster spots, so it has the space to add Dragic. Looking to win his first championship, Dragic will look to join a title-contending squad. The Heat lead the Eastern Conference with a 37-20 mark and has a realistic chance of reaching its second NBA Finals in three years. Dragic, of course, was the starting guard of the 2020 Eastern Conference champion Heat.
Looking to jump on board a team with championship aspirations, Dragic will almost assuredly have to accept a backup role. With his prime behind him and his 35th birthday approaching in May, Dragic likely has no qualms about a second-string role. In Miami, Dragic would have to compete with promising young guard Gabe Vincent for playing time.
2. Goran Dragic Bucks
The defending NBA champion Bucks could certainly use Dragic’s services. Their guard depth has taken a hit lately.
The Bucks traded away Donte DiVincenzo to the Sacramento Kings at Thursday’s deadline in the four-team trade that landed them big man Serge Ibaka. On top of that, guard Pat Connaughton suffered a significant right-hand injury. Connaughton is expected to undergo surgery to repair a fractured fourth metacarpal on his right hand, and while no concrete timeline has been set, he will likely miss significant time.
Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton will undergo surgery to repair a fractured fourth metacarpal on his right hand Monday and is expected to return to the lineup before the end of the regular season, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 13, 2022
Dragic could carve out a significant role in Milwaukee. Bucks backup point guard George Hill is seeing plenty of action off the bench, averaging 25.5 minutes per contest. Dragic could usurp Hill in the rotation, or at bare minimum cut into some of his minutes, since Hill has posted modest per-game marks of 7.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
While the Bucks (35-23) are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, they are only 2.5 games behind the first-place Heat. Adding Dragic could help the Bucks move up in the standings as they chase a second consecutive championship.
1. Goran Dragic Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are well on their way to ending their two-year playoff drought. Holding the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference with a 42-16 record, the Warriors are looking to make a deep postseason run for the first time since reaching the NBA Finals in 2019.
If there is one flaw in Golden State’s roster, it’s a lack of a backup point guard. Guard Jordan Poole has done an admirable job all year, including in his new role in the second unit. He conceded the starting shooting guard duties to Klay Thompson after the latter’s extended absence. Poole, who is averaging 16.4 points and 3.4 assists per contest, is more of a scorer than a traditional playmaker. He is being called upon to play point guard when Curry is on the bench. If the Warriors were to sign Dragic, they could utilize Poole exclusively as the backup shooting guard.
Dragic would provide the Warriors a much-needed facilitator. While his 4.4 assists per game last season was his lowest mark in 11 years, it would actually rank third on the current Warriors, behind only Draymond Green (7.4) and superstar Stephen Curry (6.4).
There is also a connection between Dragic and Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. It was Kerr who orchestrated the draft day trade to select Dragic back in 2009 when the former was the general manager of the Phoenix Suns. It was an excellent selection by Kerr and the Suns, who picked Dragic in the second round. Despite being taken with the 45th pick in the ’09 NBA Draft, Dragic has enjoyed a successful career, highlighted by an All-Star appearance (2018), an All-NBA Third Team selection (2014) and winning the NBA’s Most Improved Player award (2014).
Dragic is the biggest name on the buyout market. Dragic can make any team better, but an ideal fit for the veteran would be as the backup point guard for the Warriors.