Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic doesn't want to go anywhere. Despite telling NBA.com's David Aldridge that rebuilding wasn't what he signed up for, he wants it to be known that he is happy in Miami, via the South Florida Sun Sentinel's Ira Winderman:
"He asked me that question: Didn't I sign to be part of a great team, championship team? I said, 'Yeah, of course.' Then I said sometimes your career, this is business, you cannot have every decision go the way you want it on your own. This is a team decision. Sometimes you need to do two steps back to go one step forward. I'm happy to be here. This is the team that I want to be here. But I understand this is business."
Dragic said he was surprised how his words were misconstrued across social media, including some posts in his native Slovenia tongue.
"I don't have any comments about not wanting to be here," he said. "That is nonsense."
"It's not even close," he said. "I'm happy here. This is the team that I want to be part of. And I feel great. I feel comfortable. We are building something here that is totally new, but I have a lot of confidence that we're going to succeed, because we have a lot of young talent that is working hard. I feel awesome."
There is precedence for Dragic wanting out. He landed in Miami at the 2015 trade deadline because, as a member of the Phoenix Suns, he said he didn't trust the organization and would not re-sign there in free agency. At that point, though, he was disappointed with how the Suns had handled the point guard position -- while his partnership with Eric Bledsoe worked, it was not an easy situation when Phoenix added Isaiah Thomas to the mix, too. His circumstances with the Heat are totally different -- with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh gone, Dragic is suddenly now only their primary playmaker and leader.
At media day a few weeks ago, Dragic said that "it's not the prettiest situation right now," but pledged to be more of a vocal leader and try to build chemistry with his new teammates. Right now, it appears he will do whatever he can to help Miami as it tries to construct an identity in the post-Wade era. There are a couple of questions that don't have answers yet, though:
- What happens if the Heat have an awful start? This is a thin team that is trying to integrate a whole bunch of new pieces, and guard Josh Richardson is expected to miss the beginning of the regular season because of a knee injury. It's easy for Dragic to be optimistic right now, but there's no telling how he'll feel if and when he's in the midst of a losing streak. Dragic is 30 years old, and few would blame him if he started to think about going elsewhere.
- What is the Heat's front office's plan? If Miami is hoping to reconstruct its roster in free agency again, then having a proven player like Dragic under contract is a good idea. If it would rather focus on the draft, then it makes less sense. Few teams are tanking this season, so you could argue that the Heat should just move Dragic, bottom out and start over.
Essentially, there's no reason to expect Dragic to be moved anytime soon. These things can change, though, and there could come a time where a trade is best for both sides.