The Toronto Raptors had to part with franchise legend Kyle Lowry in the early hours of free agency, sending him to the Miami Heat in a sign-and-trade agreement that brought back 2020 first-round pick Precious Achiuwa and veteran point guard Goran Dragic, who will be 35 next year just like Lowry.
Despite the fact that Dragic has averaged 16.2 points per game with an All-Star appearance, All-NBA nod, and Most Improved Player under his belt during the last seven seasons, the expectation is that the Raptors will move him elsewhere once the trade is completed.
The Dallas Mavericks, who currently are led by Dragic’s countryman in Luka Doncic and partially helmed by Igor Kokoskov, who was an assistant when Goran was in Phoenix, appeal to him.
However, as Tim MacMahon stated on Zach Lowe’s podcast, the Mavericks aren’t eager about giving up assets to acquire Dragic when he had a $19.4 million salary next year. There is still a good chance that Dragic will end up reporting to the Raptors by the time the start of the season rolls around.
While the priority, considering the trajectory of this franchise, will be to trade him, Dragic can still get a bucket or two at the NBA level, and he could provide the Raptors will a nice veteran punch off of the bench.
Can Goran Dragic help the Toronto Raptors?
Dragic averaged 13.4 points per game on 43% shooting last year, and most of that production came off of the bench. With experience at both guard spots and a 3-point shot that is still quality, Dragic could be a nice veteran complement to Fred VanVleet at point guard and Gary Trent Jr. at shooting guard.
In the absolute best-case scenario, the Raptors’ new squad will gel and make a postseason run, with Dragic serving as a key bench piece. Still able to make key passes and wiggle into the lane for easy shots, he seems tailor-made for this role.
If Toronto starts off slow, they could offload Dragic at the deadline for some assets. There will always be a desperate team looking to acquire veteran help before the postseason, and the Raptors might be able to maximize their potential return if they lean on this strategy.
The market for Dragic is shrinking due to both his salary and point guard vacancies being filled. The Raptors shouldn’t just accept whatever deal comes their way in order to get rid of him, as keeping him on the roster is by no means something that would be a detriment.
If you’re an optimistic Raptors fan, getting Dragic seems like a win-win. If they move off of him, that’s great. They’ll get players and/or picks they can use to jump-start the retooling. If he stays, that’s also great, as he could be a reliable greybeard on the bench, filling a hole that Toronto has on their roster right now.