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Losing Dragic for Lowry hurts. It’s still the right thing to do.

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The Heat may include Dragic and Precious Achiuwa in a sign-and-trade for Lowry.

Miami Heat v Toronto Raptors Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday night that the Miami Heat “are positioning themselves to become frontrunners to land Kyle Lowry in a sign-and-trade agreement...” The deal would involve Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa, according to Wojnarowski.

The potential loss of Dragic would hurt, as the point guard emerged as one of the lone holdovers during the uneven post-LeBron years. He scored 30 points in Game 6 of the 2016 second-round series against the Toronto Raptors. During the wild 2016-17 season — the lone full season Dwyane Wade didn’t play for the Heat — Dragic was there during the lowest of lows and the mad dash into the playoff picture. And he delivered some of his best basketball during the 2020 playoffs.

But Lowry is a better player than Dragic, especially on the defensive end of the floor. If the Heat intend to keep Duncan Robinson — as it seems they do — it becomes difficult to also give Dragic significant minutes.

When Pat Riley has kept players together after a feel-good story — the 2006 championship, the 30-11 run in 2017 and the Finals run as a 5 seed — the ensuing season has always disappointed. Ultimately, the Heat needed to give up Dragic to get Lowry. The Slovenian will have his jersey retired in Miami.

As for Achiuwa, he didn’t have a great rookie season. The addition of Dewayne Dedmon relegated him to garbage time. Of course, it’s tough to project his best-case scenario — no summer league or G League experience, a condensed NBA season without much practice time.

Trading Achiuwa when Miami didn’t have a draft pick this year and already traded their first-round pick in 2023 leaves the cupboard bare for the future. But the Heat can’t worry about the future. They need to compete during for Butler’s timeline and worry about the future later.