Heat Rumors: Goran Dragic Picks Up $19.2M Contract Option to Return to Miami

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJune 13, 2019

MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 03:  Goran Dragic #7 of the Miami Heat in action against the Boston Celtics at American Airlines Arena on April 03, 2019 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Goran Dragic has been a featured piece of the Miami Heat backcourt since they traded for him in February 2015, and that will remain the case for at least the 2019-20 season after he reportedly accepted his player option to remain on the team.  

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the news Thursday, noting the option will pay him $19.2 million.

Even with Dragic in the backcourt, the Heat didn't reach the playoffs in 2014-15 or 2016-17 and lost in the second round in 2015-16 and first round in 2017-18. They also missed the postseason in 2018-19 when he dealt with injuries and played only 36 games.

The 33-year-old will look to stay healthy and help lead the team to more postseason success while maintaining his scoring ways.

He averaged double-digit scoring totals in every year since the 2011-12 campaign, including the 20.3 points per game he put up in 2013-14 for the Phoenix Suns, when he won the NBA's Most Improved Player Award.

He is also a solid facilitator who has five seasons of at least 5.3 assists per game in his career, including the 7.4 he posted in 2012-13.

He finished with 20.3 points and 5.8 assists per night in 2016-17 in his second full season for the Heat and followed up with 17.3 points and 4.8 assists a night in 2017-18.

The Slovenian can shoot the three-pointer, attack the basket with a quick first step and provide solid perimeter defense. According to NBA.com, opponents shot 4.0 percent worse overall and 2.7 percent worse from three-point range than their normal averages when Dragic guarded them in his last full season in 2017-18.

His lateral quickness and overall speed allowed him to stay in front of many guards, and his length at 6'3" helped him bother perimeter shooters in closeout situations.

It is fair to wonder if that will remain the case in 2019-20, though, especially given his age and the fact injuries limited him throughout last season.

If he fights through those concerns, Dragic can once again provide the Heat with a perimeter scoring option who can light up the scoreboard on the offensive side and prevent some of the opposition's best players from doing the same on the defensive end.