Goran Dragic has only been a member of the Toronto Raptors for a few weeks, and it sounds like he is already frustrated at the fact that he has to play for a Canadian team that is in flux at the moment. Dragic was translated as saying that he has” higher ambitions” than playing in Toronto.
It’s actually sort of laughable that a player who has toiled 13 years in the NBA as a point guard, yet has never been the primary or secondary option on a title team, is trying to dictate where he plays at age 35.
In his 13 seasons, he has reached the 20 points per game plateau twice (Phoenix in 2013/14 Miami in 2016/17), and Dragic’s Heat teams started to get over the hump when he took a reduced role. Despite those factors working against him, Dragic has been angling for a move to the Mavericks to play with countryman Luka Doncic in Dallas.
"“My message basically, to all Toronto fans, is I would like to apologize, “It didn’t come out the right way. I know they love their team, and they should be proud, it is one of the best organizations in the NBA. They’ve already won a championship and I didn’t, so what I said, it really was not appropriate.”"
It’s a little too late. He already did the damage. There’s a reason you think before you speak, but that might have been the point of Dragic’s speech. Drum up enough ill will in and around the relationship between the player and the organization, and it forces a trade or buyout.
If Dragic, who can still be a quality player at this point in his career, is frustrated with anyone, he should be frustrated with both the Mavericks and his own contract situation, as giving Miami the ability to pick up a team option gave them control over where he played next.
The reason for Goran Dragic’s disdain over joining the Toronto Raptors.
August 2 began the negotiation period for the team’s in the NBA and free-agent players to discuss potential new contracts. Dragic was so close to being free to choose his preferred destination in Dallas.
However, less than 24 hours before Aug 2, the Heat chose to pick up the option on Dragic’s contract at $19.4 million. That decision on the team option exercised by the Heat’s management denied Dragic an opportunity to negotiate with the Mavericks.
Instead, he was included in the Lowry deal with the Raptors. Already not starting in Miami (Dragic started 11 games for the Heat in 2021), Dragic could have become the starting off-ball guard for the Mavericks, lending ball-handling support to Doncic in the process.
If given a chance to enter unrestricted free agency and negotiate with Dallas, Dragic might be
Toronto Raptors: Goran Dragic’s contract situation is to blame.
The true and penultimate blame lies with Dragic himself. In a recent quote, the player stated:
"“Maybe I would really end my career together with Luka Doncic in a Dallas Mavericks jersey. But these are all guesses now. I still don’t know where I’m going to play. But I definitely want to play with him someday.”"
It has to be noted that he negotiated a two-year deal with the Heat last November, giving the Heat a team option for this coming season. If the Doncic question was weighing heavily on his mind, why not insist on a player option?
His own poor planning has created a situation where he lost an opportunity to chart his future NBA destination by not insisting on a player option for this season. That would have helped Dragic move on to Dallas.
Toronto and Miami merely wanted a return for their contractual commitments, and Miami needed to move a contract to assume Lowry’s new deal in the sign and trade. If either team did Dragic wrong, it’s Miami. After he spent seven years there, they felt they needed an upgrade.
Even now, Dallas appears unwilling to pay Dragic’s contract or lose players like Dwight Powell in trade.
What matters now is how Dragic conducts himself from this moment until Toronto can arrange a reasonable deal that satisfies the organization’s needs or convince him to go all-out for the Raptors. His issue is not with Toronto. However, choices have consequences, as does speech. Dragic made his choice and spoke.