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Report: Goran Dragic's Contract Option Exercised by Heat; Lowry Trade Possible

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2021

Miami Heat's Goran Dragic (7) on the court in the second half of a basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Sunday, May 9, 2021, in Boston. The Heat won 130-124. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Steven Senne/Associated Press

The Miami Heat are exercising the $19.4 million option on guard Goran Dragic for the 2021-22 season, according to Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.  

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported the decision "is a possible precursor in utilizing him as part of a potential sign-and-trade with Toronto for Kyle Lowry." Wojnarowski added a sign-and-trade "would need to include assets—such as draft picks and/or young players—to incentivize Raptors' involvement."

Wojnarowski added the Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans could be possible landing spots should the Raptors acquire Dragic and subsequently look to flip him.

Dragic spent the previous six-plus seasons with the Heat after coming over via midseason trade in 2015. He's been an integral part of the Heat rotation since his arrival, making his first All-Star appearance in 2017-18 before transitioning to a bench role the last two seasons.

The Heat were largely expected to decline Dragic's option from the second they signed his two-year, $37.4 million contract last offseason. Miami structured its cap sheet to have near-maximum cap space available this summer to add a third star next to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

However, it appears the Heat will focus more on talent retention than making a big splash. 

The likes of Dragic and Andre Iguodala could have been willing to wait out the market and potentially land a short-term balloon payment to come back next season on another short-term deal. Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn are also restricted free agents with low cap hits, so the Heat can hold off on retaining them until the remainder of the roster is settled.

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Dragic wouldn't have lacked for options on the free-agent market if he had chosen to leave Miami. While he's better used as a sixth man at this point in his career, the Slovenian is still an efficient bench scorer and distributor who can go off for 25 points on a good night. 

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