In 2015, Goran Dragic had the New York Knicks as one of his preferred destinations along with the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Pat Riley beat Phil Jackson at the trade deadline acquiring the Slovenian point guard and his brother Zoran from the Phoenix Suns. Dragic went on to stay long term with the Heat and was rewarded with a Finals trip this season.
Five years later, Dragic could find himself crossing paths with the Knicks again as multiple sources believe that the Heat point guard is among their free-agent targets.
One NBA agent views Dragic as a cheaper alternative to rumored targets Chris Paul and free-agent-to-be Fred VanVleet, feeling that Dragic would make more sense from a financial standpoint and as a culture-builder.
“He’s one year younger than Chris (Paul) and has more years of experience than Fred (Van Vleet). He could be the ideal leader of this Knicks rebuild just like what he did with the Heat and be a mentor to their young guards at a relatively cheaper contract,” the agent told Empire Sports Media.
Another source said that the Knicks will have the cap space to lure Dragic with more money on a long-term deal, but the Heat will be motivated to keep Dragic after their successful run this season.
“I believe the Heat will try to keep him and run it back next season but it’s going to be tough for them to offer a long-term deal as Pat Riley have his eyes on the 2021 free agency,” the source told Empire Sports Media.
Meanwhile in the take-it-for-what-it's-worth bucket, Grammy-nominated guitarist Robert Randolph, who is one of the Knicks’ owner James Dolan’s close friends in the music industry, has tweeted that Dragic is the Knicks’ top target in the free agency.
Goran dragic. Is the #1 target. And drafting Tyrese Halliburton!!!!! https://t.co/Pd44M7y7VL
— Robert Randolph (@rrtfb) October 6, 2020
Dragic has accepted an off-the-bench role in the regular season and served as one of the catalysts in the development of the Heat’s young players such as Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, and Tyler Herro. The veteran guard averaged 16.2 points and 5.1 assists for the Heat while shooting 37 percent from deep this season.
A consummate pro, Dragic is viewed around the league as the embodiment of the Heat culture in the post-LeBron James and Dwyane Wade era.