Tim Hardaway was the Miami Heat's last great point guard and if all goes well this off-season, Goran Dragic will be next.
Though free agency is still ten days away, Pat Riley wants to be the first offer Dragic considers, in hopes of locking the point guard up before moving on to the face of the franchise, Dwyane Wade. According to Marc Stein of ESPN:
10 more days 'til Heat can put full-court press on Goran Dragic for fast verbal agreement in free agency. ESPN link: http://t.co/SZdQc4SJ76— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 21, 2015
First off, offering Dragic a 5 year $80 million deal is a steal (provided he accepts it) compared to how much he could have commanded. While other teams (Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks) could only offer a maximum 4-year $85 million, the Heat could have signed him to a 5-year max deal in excess of $100 million. So getting Dragic to take almost TWENTY MILLION less is the "Heat discount" I was hoping he would take.
Unlike his time with the Phoenix Suns, Dragic has had a great time in Miami even though the team didn't reach the playoffs. You always noticed how his eyes lit up when talking about playing with Hassan Whiteside and potential of playing with Chris Bosh.
"I like this organization, this basketball style, I had a great time here in Miami. I want to come back," Dragic said during his exit meetings.
Dragic has emphasized that the fifth year advantage Miami had over other teams would be the biggest part in his decision making and now if indeed he signs at this discounted rate, I would think it's because he wants to give Riley enough flexibility room to bring in someone else (Hi Kevin Durant) for 2016. I expect the contract to be back loaded the final three years in order for the team to make room for Wade to fit into the cap as well.
One of the highlights from Pat Riley during his exit meeting with the media was when he spoke about Dragic, saying: "If he doesn’t sign, my ass will be in that seat next year [Riley pointed to media seating]. We’re in a very good position to offer him more than anybody else."
Fortunately for Miami Heat fans everywhere, it looks like Pat Riley will not be a reporter next season.