The Toronto Raptors flipped Kyle Lowry to the Miami Heat in exchange for a package headlined by Precious Achiuwa and Goran Dragic. While these two certainly won’t be able to replace Lowry, there was some optimism that the Nigerian youngster and Slovenian veteran could help contribute to a winning culture.
Dragic didn’t seem like a piece for the Raptors in 2021 to some, as many expected him to be quickly re-routed to the Dallas Mavericks, where he could play alongside countryman Luka Doncic. However, Dragic remained in Toronto, with Bobby Webster claiming that he believed that Dragic is excited to be here.
That statement couldn’t have been further from the truth. In an interview given in Slovenian, Dragic claimed that Toronto was not where he wanted to end up, adding that he has “higher ambitions” than playing for the Raptors. This is a masterclass in figuring out how to get the fanbase irritated at you.
The Raptors might not get the most amazing return in exchange for Dragic, but they need to find a way to get him somewhere else ASAP.
Yes, this means Dragic is getting his way by forcing his way out of Toronto to fulfill these “higher ambitions.” I don’t care. The Raptors can’t go into a season with vibes like this hanging over the team.
The Toronto Raptors need to move Goran Dragic.
Dragic averaged 13.4 points per game last year on 43% shooting. Despite his reduced role, he could be a perfect veteran counterpart off of the bench that helps mentor young players like Scottie Barnes and Malachi Flynn. Instead, Dragic has insinuated that he doesn’t want to be here.
This team is not rebuilding, but retooling. Making the playoffs is a very attainable goal, but it will be made even harder with one of the senior players on this team in Dragic having openly voiced his frustrations with the franchise.
With the possibility of Dragic pulling an “Andre Iguodala in Memphis” and sitting out until he gets his wish, it’s better to send him to Dallas or elsewhere in exchange for a combination of salary filler, young players, and draft picks.
He did try to clear up his statements, but the damage has already been done. We know where he stands.
It’s valid for Dragic to feel this way after being sent from a title contender to a team that will need to fight to make it to the postseason, but coming out and saying on TV that he did not want to play in Toronto is a major faux pas.
This is nothing new for Raptors fans, unfortunately, as players like Kenny Anderson and Alonzo Mourning in the past have refused to suit up for Toronto, either due to their distaste for playing in Canada or desire to join a winning team.
Dragic appears to be on his last legs in his NBA career, and stopping one step short of demanding a trade before he’s even put a Raptors jersey on makes him come across like someone who can’t wait to leave.
It’s better to ditch him for more spare parts than leave him around, radiating negative energy, until the trade deadline.