Goran Dragic in the bubble

Goran Dragic free agency: Contract projections and possible landing spots

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Cap space in 2021 is the priority for the Miami Heat. With Goran Dragic and Jae Crowder hitting free agency this offseason, however, Miami must strike a balance between competing in 2020-21 and being able to swing big in next year’s free agency when Giannis Antetokounmpo could hit the market.

Pat Riley spoke of the Heat’s desire to retain their free agents, including the veteran point guard. “We know what our priorities are.. It is to take care of the players that we have, that we have to make decisions on almost immediately. We know Bam [Adebayo] has a decision to make and we do with him. We know the guys that have sacrificed for us that we really like, our free agents, especially Goran.”

Miami’s desire to sign Antetokounmpo is common knowledge. The desperation to have 2021 cap space influences this offseason for the Heat. Retaining Dragic might be a priority, but it’s very unlikely the Heat will offer the Slovenian anything more than a bumper one-year deal is. Mutual interest has been reported, but heading into his age-34 campaign and coming off a major injury, is Dragic comfortable taking a short-term contract when longer offers could be on the table?

Contract projection

The Heat will be suggesting a one-year deal. Dragic, in the last year of a four-year deal, received $18.1 million in 2019-20. He’s pocketed almost $96 million in NBA salary throughout his career to date. Of course, we don’t know if Dragic will be prioritising the biggest payday possible or if he will be happy to settle with the Heat for less money.

With cap space to play with, the Heat could offer Dragic another year at the $18 million mark. They could push it a bit higher if required.


No free agent period is like the last. The pandemic will impact this offseason in ways no one can predict. Dragic’s circumstances are unique, too. He comes with a dodgy injury history, including a major foot injury in the playoffs, and he’s into his mid-thirties. At the same time, though, he was playing some of the basketball of his career during the bubble. After just three regular season starts, the former Suns guard averaged over 19 per game on 54.9% true shooting.

Finding a contract comparison for Dragic is pretty much impossible. From the 2019 class (when there was a lot more cap space available) Patrick Beverley received three years and $40 million. Beverley is a very different player, but he’s a point guard in his thirties, who has had his own troubles with injuries. Dragic could be eyeing up a similar deal.

Dragic’s free agency suitors

Oddly, the team who signed Beverley are the first that comes to mind. The Clippers’ need for playmaking and scoring in the backcourt is apparent, and the roster seems destined for a shake up after their playoff disappointment. Sam Quinn reported the Clippers could offer Dragic a four-year, $40 million deal. While that’s a much lower AAV than he’ll get from Miami, it’s a long-term guarantee that many other clubs will be reluctant to offer.

The Dallas Mavericks could join the Heat in offering a one-year deal. Dallas, like Miami, are eyeing up Antetokounmpo, but teaming up Dragic up with his compatriot Luka Doncic is a tantalising prospect for 2020-21.

Dragic is the sort of player the Sixers need to provide spacing and shot creation. Getting him to Philadelphia will require some masterful manoeuvring from Daryl Morey given the Sixers’ hideous cap situation. The same goes for the Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee will be after a point guard, but their cap situation is almost as challenging.


The Atlanta Hawks are one of the teams with cap space who could throw something like three years and $50 million at Dragic. It feels like an overpay, but Atlanta is on the lookout for veterans to help Trae Young and co take the next step in 2020-21.

Seeing Dragic in anything other than a Heat uniform next season would be a surprise. He’s likely to have plenty of suitors, though, and could be tempted by a longer deal to avoid hitting free agency as a 35-year-old in 2021.

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