The Miami Heat made a couple of important decisions on Sunday regarding their two veterans with team options, letting Andre Iguodala walk (with most anticipating he will return to the Warriors) and somewhat surprisingly picking up the $19.4 million option on Goran Dragic.
With Miami as one of the presumptive frontrunners for Kyle Lowry, picking up Dragic certainly opens up doors for a sign-and-trade with Toronto, but if the Raptors aren’t interested in a Dragic-centric package, they would need to find another team interested in taking on the veteran point guard. There are some teams that could have interest in doing so — the Mavs have been connected to the Slovenian point guard for the past couple summers/deadlines due to Luka Doncic’s relationship with Dragic — but it certainly put an interesting wrinkle into the point guard market.
Miami has been connected to Lowry for some time, making a push for him at the deadline this year, but they won’t be alone. Dallas and New Orleans have both cleared cap space to be able to meet the reported three-year, $90 million desires of Lowry in free agency, and Philadelphia’s interest in a sign-and-trade is also known. In the end, if money is all the same, it’s going to come down to where he feels most comfortable and happy spending the latter portion of his career. To try and give themselves a leg up in that category, the Heat are pulling out all the stops, per Marc Stein, who reports they are trying to work out how to bring Lowry’s old teammate and best friend DeMar DeRozan to Miami with him.
In addition to its increasingly promising pursuit of Kyle Lowry, Miami has been exploring pathways for acquiring Lowry’s former teammate and free agent-to-be DeMar DeRozan as well, league sources say.
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DeRozan will be a free agent and there were rumblings that San Antonio was willing to explore sign-and-trade opportunities to send him to L.A. before they pulled off the Russell Westbrook deal. Whether San Antonio, with a pair of young lead guards in Dejounte Murray and Derrick White they seem ready to build around, would want Dragic in a sign-and-trade or if a third team could be tossed into the mix remains to be seen, but there are few more tried and true routes to a free agents heart than bringing in their friends. That’s how Brooklyn ended up with DeAndre Jordan on a hefty deal as part of the price that came with landing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
The fit with DeRozan, Lowry, and Jimmy Butler would be fascinating to watch, if nothing else, as DeRozan and Butler have similar offensive games in that they like the ball in their hands and do their damage in the midrange, while Lowry isn’t exactly a sharpshooter from three. They would definitely have to match most any offer sheet for Duncan Robinson to give some floor balance offensively to that trio plus Bam Adebayo, but defensively they would be an absolute nightmare to deal with. We’ll see in the coming days if this becomes something more than pre-free agency smoke, but for now it’s fun to imagine those two longtime friends reuniting in Miami for one more ride.