Lakers Remain Free Agent Contender For Dragic

12:22pm: The Heat were believed to be the No. 1 team on the list of preferred destinations that agent Bill Duffy reportedly gave the Suns before the trade, according to Chris Mannix of

10:12am: New Heat trade acquisition Goran Dragic views the Lakers as a “perfect fit” and would love the opportunity to join the team in free agency this summer, a source with knowledge of Dragic’s thinking told Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. Still, the point guard will probably re-sign with the Heat this summer, as Sean Deveney of The Sporting News heard Thursday, and the expectation is that the Heat will make a five-year max offer, as Ramona Shelburne of also reported Thursday.

Miami’s ability to offer that fifth year gives the team a financial edge on the other 29 clubs who are limited to offers of no more than four seasons, though USA Today’s Sam Amick heard before the trade that the fifth year wouldn’t hold sway over his decision on where to sign. The Heat also have the ability to offer more money through 7.5% raises instead of the 4.5% raises to which the Lakers and other teams are limited. Dragic has a $7.5MM player option for next season, but he’s said he plans to turn it down.

The Lakers made a hard push to trade for Dragic in advance of Thursday’s deadline, as Medina confirms. The team has reportedly been eyeing him for months for free agency as well as a trade, and Dragic has said it would be “cool to play with” Kobe Bryant. Still, Rade Filipovich, one of Dragic’s agents, told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald that there’s no question Dragic will like playing with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and Filipovich also praised Heat team president Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra.

“It’s a great fit,” Filipovich said of the Heat. “Goran and Wade to bring the ball up, create offense, very good shooters –– very interesting team. A playoff team. He feels lucky he ended up in Miami. He’s very happy.”

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