Will the Toronto Raptors buy out Goran Dragic after benching?

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 23: Goran Dragic #1 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 23: Goran Dragic #1 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

When the Toronto Raptors acquired Goran Dragic after nearly a decade in Miami, they likely expected him to provide his usual blend of efficient offense and veteran moxie to give this young team some stability. Not only has Dragic struggled, but he’s been unwatchable at times.

Dragic made just 31% of his shots and 22% of his 3-point attempts during his first four games of the season, three of which resulted in losses for the Raptors. With his defensive value minimal, Dragic’s offensive struggles have been one of the main factors in Toronto’s poor start.

Dragic went from starting on opening night to begin benched for Gary Trent Jr. after just one game. He was relegated to the role of spectator in Saturday’s win against the Indiana Pacers, and the change helped provide the Raptors with a spark on both ends of the floor.

Not only did Dragic play a grand total of zero minutes, but Dalano Banton showed off his rim-attacking potential and defensive skill.

Will Nick Nurse’s decision to put Banton in over the Slovenian veteran expedite a Dragic buyout that would bring an end to his time in Toronto?

How will the Toronto Raptors deal with Goran Dragic?

Dragic has been mentioned in trade talks ever since the deal with Miami was consummated, with his Luka Doncic connection making the Mavericks an ideal landing spot. Ultimately, Masai Ujiri chose to hold off on trading him during the offseason, hoping that a half-season in the rotation could showcase his value to other teams.

This season has not gone according to plan, as Dragic getting passed up by a raw rookie makes him look incredibly unattractive to contenders.

Dragic getting bought out might not get Toronto any assets in return, but they could free up some financial wiggle room, get rid of any potentially awkward situation with Dragic on the bench, and soldier on with their youth movement.

While Dragic will almost assuredly work through his poor shooting start if given enough minutes, the Raptors need to start picking up some wins, and if Banton over Dragic translates to some extra wins here and there, Nurse would be foolish to upset Toronto’s momentum and throw Goran back into the fold.

A buyout has to be on the table, even if it means eschewing a trade. With a $19.4 million salary and declining production, no one would give up a ton of assets for Dragic in his current state.

If the mission statement is winning as many games as possible while developing the young guys, Dragic flies in the face of that. If a buyout gives the young guys more opportunities and gets Dragic to a better situation for him, Ujiri might not have a choice.

Next. 3 young bigs to watch in trade talks. dark