Goran Dragic has a new five-year deal worth more than $85MM with the Heat, and he also has more responsibility and a stronger roster around him than ever before, notes Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post. Dragic only has played in one NBA postseason, but odds are that’ll change by this spring.
“There’s definitely more pressure now,” Dragic said to Lieser. “You need to show people that you’re worth that money. I know I have my spot, but you need to prove to everybody that you deserve it. There’s pressure, and you need to deal with it. I can do that.”
See more on an ex-Heat point guard amid the latest from the Southeast Division:
- Shabazz Napier likes his new surroundings with the Magic and wasn’t surprised when the Heat traded him in the offseason, observes Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. “During the summer you hear lot of rumors. What actually happened, I wasn’t too surprised at all. If it hit me where I didn’t know about it, then I’d be surprised,” Napier said. “But I kind of had a feeling they kind of needed to get some trades off. I sensed it because I have a great agent [Rob Pelinka], not because I felt they wanted me to get out of there. It’s just sometimes it’s business. They needed extra money and they didn’t need the luxury tax and what not.”
- The Sixers made Ish Smith an offer to return, and the Kings and Suns offered him deals, too, before he instead signed with the Wizards, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers seem like they could have used him, but Smith faces long odds to stick for opening night in Washington, since he has a non-guaranteed deal on a roster with 15 fully guaranteed contracts, Pompey writes.
- Justin Holiday, one of the few members of the Warriors championship team to depart Golden State this summer, is hoping to follow in DeMarre Carroll‘s footsteps as an under-the-radar signee who blossoms with the Hawks, as Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders details. Holiday’s two-year deal with Atlanta is for the minimum salary, as Basketball Insiders scribe Eric Pincus shows. “The main thing that appealed to me was how the team played,” Holiday said. “Just how coach [Mike Budenholzer] goes about doing things here. I guess DeMarre leaving, obviously that made it available for me to come. So that has to be a big reason why I’m here, but I guess I didn’t focus as much on him not being here. I just think the way they do things here is the main reason why I felt like this was a good place for me to come.”