The same trade that sent Toronto Raptors legend Kyle Lowry to the Miami Heat also helped Masai Ujiri bring Goran Dragic to Canada. While he is a little long in the tooth and carrying an unsightly salary for his age, he is still a quality scorer and facilitator in this league, and that could be a bonus for the Raptors in 2021-22.
Unfortunately, based on Dragic’s own claims that he isn’t super thrilled with playing in Toronto and the trajectory of this franchise, the expectation is that Dragic will be dealt away at some point during the season. The Raptors are prioritizing youth, and Dragic doesn’t fit that mold.
The Mavericks have long looked like the spot Dragic will end up at, as his desire to play with countryman Luka Doncic could facilitate a move to Dallas. However, Dragic is too good to simply be bought out or traded away for pennies on the dollar, and Toronto looks set to hold on to him until a good deal comes up.
According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Raptors are intent on being as competitive as possible in 2021-22 with Dragic on the roster. However, they also believe that “more appealing trade possibilities” will arise during the middle of the season when contenders become desperate for some experience and playmaking.
Will the Toronto Raptors trade Goran Dragic?
Dragic averaged 13.4 points and 4.4 assists per game last season despite seeing his volume of shots decrease. In a backcourt rotation that will include neophyte point guard Malachi Flynn, rotation signing Svi Mykhailiuk, and rookie Dalano Banton, Dragic’s age and finishing at the rim will be a very coveted trait.
On the surface, Dragic could be a hard sell. At 35 years old and with a salary that will pay him over $19 million this season, the Raptors might not get a king’s ransom for an aging guard with such heavy financial implications. However, based on last year’s deadline, a contender might just get desperate and overpay for him.
Considering that we saw veteran role players like PJ Tucker get traded for a first-round pick last season, a contender could easily be willing to give up a piece of premium draft capital in exchange for Dragic. Patience is a virtue, and the Raptors need to let as many trade offers for Dragic flow in before making a decision.
While he’ll likely be moved at the deadline for competitive and tax purposes, Dragic faces a very pivotal first half of the season. By playing well off of the bench and continuing to score, not only will Dragic help lead the Raptors to an extra win or two, but he could increase his trade value and help Toronto get a better haul in a hypothetical swap.