Goran Dragic is finally on the move. After a week of rumors detailing the strained relationship between the Phoenix Suns and the 28-year-old guard, Dragic has been sent to the Miami Heat, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
The blockbuster trade eventually morphed into a three-team deal that also involved the New Orleans Pelicans. First-round picks in 2017 (top-seven protected) and 2021 (unprotected) will go to Phoenix, as well as Danny Granger, according to 620 KTAR. Justin Hamilton will also go to Phoenix, while Norris Cole and Shawne Williams appear to be heading to New Orleans. The Suns will also get John Salmons.
More pieces are likely to be involved. Miami will also receive brother Zoran Dragic, according to USA Today's Sam Amick.
Dragic will be an unrestricted free agent after the season and Miami was on his list of preferred destinations. The Heat currently own the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Adding Dragic to a core that already includes Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and upstart center Hassan Whiteside would appear to make Miami a formidable sleeper in the postseason.
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Dragic enjoyed a breakout season last year in Phoenix, averaging a career-high 20.3 points per game and being named third team All-NBA. Dragic's numbers have dipped this season, but he's still shooting over 50 percent from the field while averaging 16.2 points and 4.1 assists per game. He is expected to draw a maximum contract offer in free agency.
What are the Heat getting?
Dragic has developed into a high quality point guard over his past three years in Phoenix. This season with the Suns, Dragic averaged 16.2 points and 4.1 assists in 33 minutes per game playing in a crowded backcourt with Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas.
However, that crowded backcourt became a source of frustration for Dragic, and he let the Suns know he wouldn't re-sign with them in the offseason because he had lost trust in the organization. The point guard has a $7.5 million player option for next season, but it's almost a foregone conclusion that he'll opt out and become an unrestricted free agent.
How does Dragic fit the Heat?
In Dragic, the Heat get a huge upgrade at point guard over Mario Chalmers and Cole. Dragic will help Miami attempt to hold onto a postseason spot this year, and if Wade can stay healthy, the Heat could be a dangerous team in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference bracket.
Not only will Dragic be a major help this season, but at 28, he's still in his prime and will be a factor for years to come. This will be especially helpful as Wade continues to break down and can't carry as much of the load on offense.
The Heat were on Dragic's list of preferred trade destinations, so it's safe to assume he'll sign a long-term contract in Miami.
What are the Suns getting?
Phoenix salvages some assets out of an unwinnable situation. The Suns were reportedly blindsided by Dragic's trade request and limited list of preferred destinations and worked hard with alternatives to find a good deal. In the end, though, nobody else was willing to match Miami's price. The Suns made the move despite owner Robert Sarver reportedly trying to veto any deal.
The two first-round picks are the real prize, even if they arrive down the road. The Suns can add to their war chest and stay competitive in the short term. That'll help grease the wheels for a mega offer for a superstar down the road.