The View From the South East: Would Miami get burnt if Dragic departs?

With the acquisition of Goran Dragic from Phoenix, Pat Riley struck fear in the top of the
Eastern conference. By pairing his two perennial All-Stars with a top-10 point guard, the team has the goods to make a run as a low seed in a weak conference.

Dragic made it clear that Miami was one of his preferred destinations as a free agent, and the Heat now have his “Bird rights”, meaning they are able to sign him to a potential five-year $100 million deal if Dragic opts out of his $7 million player option for the 2015-16 season.

So, what does the future look like for the Heat?

Will Dragic re-sign?

Dragic will make himself an unrestricted free agent in the off-season, there is no doubting that, but will he be a Heat player in October? Given the Heat are in a position to offer more years and money than others vying for his signature, plus the perfect manner his role and skills will fit, it seems likely he will re-sign. Obviously, never say never in this league.

Is Dragic worth the maximum contract he will demand?

Last season, Dragic was All-NBA third team. He has proven he can play at a max level with the ball in his hands. This season, Dragic has played off the ball. While he still remains as an elite finisher and a capable spot up shooter, his usage and assist rates have plummeted. The point guard spot is a stacked position, and a max may be a gamble, given the lack of cap flexibility the Heat have, and the obvious lack of bench depth that needs addressing.

In saying that, you still can’t doubt Dragic’s talent, which obviously justifies a huge paycheck.

Will Chris Bosh’s health be a stumbling block in re-signing Dragic long-term?

You would hope not, but guys have to do what’s right for them, and if Bosh’s situation doesn’t improve it could impact Miami’s free-agency ventures, including the free agency of Dragic. At the moment I am more concerned about Bosh’s health, and at the same time left ruminating at the devastating lineup Miami could have trotted out after the All-Star break: what could have been a Dragic, Wade, Deng, Bosh and Whiteside starting line-up.

What should we expect for the rest of the Miami Heat’s season?

The Heat will likely make the playoffs as long as they are healthy. Chris Bosh’s heart problem however benches him for the rest of the season, and that likely eliminates the Heat from contention this year. With questions marks over Bosh’s health, and also Wade’s ailing and aging body, there is a chance Dragic may have been an expensive rental for the rest of the season if he finds a more favourable situation.

If this unlikely situation occurs, the Heat have one draft pick between now and 2017. While Pat Riley has never been the type to use his draft picks anyway, the huge extension they signed Chris Bosh to in off-season hurts the teams flexibility in bringing in top players and building a bench that can again make them a contender.

Share your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.