The Heat's long search for an elite point guard to complement Dwyane Wade in the backcourt appears to be over.
The Heat and Phoenix Suns finalized a deal just before the trade deadline on Thursday for point-guard Goran Dragic, according to a Twitter report by Yahoo!Sports. The deal moved Heat players Danny Granger, Norris Cole, Shawne Williams, Justin Hamilton and two first-round picks. Dragic's brother, Zoran, was also included in the deal.
A 28-year-old from Slovenia, Dragic was a third-team All-NBA selection last season when he averaged 20.3 points and 5.9 assists per game. He will come to Miami likely wanting a five-year deal worth over $100 million, and with the Heat parting with so many players to land the point guard, then Dragic appears to be in the long-term plans.
Dragic’s official breakout came last season when fellow Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe went down with an injury during the middle of the season. Despite the injury to Bledsoe, Dragic led the Suns to an excellent second half of the regular season and nearly qualified the Suns for the playoffs in the difficult Western Conference.
Nicknamed the Dragon, Dragic demanded a trade earlier this week and his agent, Bill Duffy, informed the Suns’ front office that Dragic wanted to play in either New York, Los Angeles or Miami. On Wednesday, Dragic told reporters that he didn’t trust the Suns’ management any longer. The posturing put pressure on the Suns to finalize a deal before the deadline at 3 p.m.
The deal is a huge one for Heat president Pat Riley, who got his man and didn't have to give any key pieces to the Heat's current rotation. Chris Andersen and Luol Deng were both rumored to be part of the deal at different times on Thursday.
It appears Heat president Pat Riley is going all in trying to acquire Suns point guard Goran Dragic in a trade. The Heat reportedly has offered Chris Andersen, Norris Cole and Josh McRoberts plus two future first-round picks for Dragic, according to ESPN.
Dragic will be a free agent this summer, which means Riley must be certain he can lock Dragic for five years. Otherwise, offering so many players and assets in a mega-deal would be too risky. The Heat would have to add some more size for this season to replace Andersen, but Heat center Hassan Whiteside is expected to receive more minutes beyond the All-Star break.
Heat president Pat Riley apparently is going for the home run today in an attempt to upgrade his team's roster for the playoffs and beyond. Riley offered the Phoenix Suns two first-round picks this morning for point guard Goran Dragic, according to a Twitter report by ESPN's Chris Broussard.
So, which year's first-round picks would be sent to Phoenix? It's a little complicated...
Philadelphia has partial rights to the Heat's first-round pick this season. The Heat's first-round pick this season is Top 10 protected, which means if the Heat finishes among the top two-thirds in the league this season (11-30), then Philadelphia gets the Heat's pick. If the Heat is one of the worst 10 teams in the league, then it keeps its 2015 pick and the deal with Philadelphia gets pushed to 2016.
All signs point to the Heat giving up its first-found pick to Philly this season, but if the pick isn't conveyed then the same deal applies in 2016. If the Heat still hasn't given a first-round pick to the Sixers by 2017, then Philadelphia just gets the pick outright.
The Heat owns its first-round picks outright from 2018 to 2021.
So, if the Suns accept this deal from the Heat, then that likely means the Heat will be sending its 2017 and 2019 first-round picks to the Suns with Philadelphia getting this year's pick. There is a trade mechanism in place that prohibits teams from trading consecutive first-round picks. This mechanism is known as the Stepien.
Trade-deadline day is here and the Heat is actively trying to make some moves to not only improve its roster for the playoff push, but also set itself up for future success.
The team's top target is Phoenix Suns point guard Goran Dragic, who is 28 years old and seeking a five-year deal that will pay him at least $100 million. Dragic's agent informed the Suns earlier this week that his client doesn't want a contract extension with the Suns, and that Dragic would like to be traded to either Miami, New York or the Los Angeles Lakers.
On Wednesday, Dragic told reporters that he didn't trust the Suns' management any longer, which put even more pressure on the Suns' front office to move him before the trade deadline. While Dragic has informed the Suns he would like to play in Miami, Los Angeles or New York, the Suns are just looking to get the most out of the trade. That likely eliminates the Lakers and Knicks from the conversation, and possibly the Heat as well.
It could go all the way to the deadline (3 p.m.) if the Heat lands Dragic, which means the next few hours will be intense ones for the Heat's front office. The Heat has assets to make a deal, and it has been speculated that forward Luol Deng could be offered to the Suns for Dragic. The Heat can also offer its next available first round pick in the deal. The Heat still owes Philadelphia a first-round pick, though.
Some factors the Heat might be considering before committing to Dragic:
1. Dragic might not be the point guard of the future for the Heat.
There's no question that he would be a huge upgrade at the position for the Heat, but Dragic is 28 years old and his numbers are down this season compared to 2013-14. Of course, Dragic is playing fewer minutes this season and he didn't share a backcourt with Eric Bledsoe for half of 2013-14.
2. The best-case scenario for the Heat would be landing Dragic while also keeping Deng. That could mean losing Chris Andersen. Can the Heat win a championship next season with this lineup: Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh, Hassan Whiteside?
3. How much will the Heat have to offer Whiteside if the team gives Dragic a max deal? If Whiteside keeps playing like one of the best centers in Heat history, he will no doubt command a hefty contract. That seems like a problem for another day, but just something to consider.