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Goran Dragic, NBA free agency

3 ideal landing spots for Goran Dragic in NBA free agency

Miami Heat point guard Goran Dragic becomes an unrestricted free agent this offseason and he’s expected to cash in on a nice deal after helping the Heat get to the 2020 NBA Finals at Walt Disney World.

Dragic, who made $19.2 million in 2019-20, averaged 16.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game for the Heat during the 2019-20 regular season while shooting 44.1 percent from the field, 36.7 percent from beyond the arc and 77.6 percent from the free-throw line.

In the Eastern Conference playoffs against the Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics, Dragic put up 20.9 points, 4.2 boards and 4.7 assists, showcasing his all-around game on the NBA’s biggest stage.

Unfortunately, the lefty suffered a serious plantar fascia tear in Game 1 of the Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers and missed Games 2-5.

While Dragic made a valiant return in Game 6, he could barely move on the court and played just 18 minutes. The Lakers defeated the Heat in Game 6 to win the championship at Walt Disney World, ending the Heat’s special run.

With the 2020 transaction period coming up soon, here are three ideal landing spots for Goran Dragic in free agency.

1. Miami Heat

Heat star small forward Jimmy Butler loves Dragic, as does head coach Erik Spoelstra. It makes all the sense in the world for Miami president Pat Riley to re-sign Dragic and keep the Heat’s core intact.

Many believe Miami could have defeated the Lakers in the Finals had Dragic and All-Star big man Bam Adebayo not gotten hurt. After all, the Heat took LeBron James and Anthony Davis to six games without Dragic, who is undoubtedly one of the best point guards in the NBA.

Dragic won’t require offseason surgery for his plantar fascia tear. With that being said, the Dragon and the Heat should agree to a new deal early in free agency and run it back in 2020-21.

The new deal, though, has to be team-friendly since the Heat are prioritizing cap space for 2021 when Indiana Pacers shooting guard Victor Oladipo enters free agency, as well as Giannis Antetokounmpo (if he doesn’t sign the supermax extension with the Milwaukee Bucks this offseason).

2. Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers need a starting point guard since Patrick Beverley isn’t a traditional floor general. If Dragic doesn’t get a proper deal from the Heat, he should meet with the Clippers and sign with them.

L.A. parted ways with head coach Doc Rivers and replaced him with Tyronn Lue. The former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach told Clippers reporters that he wants the team to play at a faster pace next season under his watch.

For that to happen, the Clippers need a fast point guard pushing the ball up the floor off makes and misses, and Dragic certainly fits that bill. He’s also a sound midrange and 3-point shooter, so there would be plenty of space on the floor for All-Stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to operate with when Dragic is on the court with them.

The Clippers will be in the market for a point guard this offseason and the team could undergo some roster changes after blowing a 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the 2020 playoffs. If talks get murky between Dragic and the Heat, the Clippers should swoop in and steal him away from Butler and Miami.

3. Los Angeles Lakers

Pat Riley, Heat, Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic, Lakers

Even though LeBron led the NBA in assists per game in 2019-20 by playing the point guard spot, L.A. head coach Frank Vogel may still be looking for another playmaker, especially when James goes to the bench to get his rest.

Since Lakers guard Rajon Rondo is expected to test the open market this offseason, Los Angeles should keep tabs on Dragic, who fits with James and Davis. The veteran point guard would excel in the pick-and-roll game with Davis since teams would have to decide if they want to cut off Dragic’s penetration to the rim or contest Davis’ jumper off the roll.

LeBron-led teams need shooters and Dragic is a good 3-point marksman. He’s a career 36.3 percent shooter from beyond the arc, so the Lakers could play Dragic off the ball a lot when James has the rock and Goran would still be able to affect the game.

Since entering the NBA in 2008, Goran Dragic has compiled averages of 13.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 4.8 assists with the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets and Heat. Miami has to be considered the betting favorite to re-sign him due to his rapport with the team and front office, but nothing is a guarantee in the crazy business that is the NBA.