Goran Dragic is a fan of coach Erik Spoelstra as well as team president Pat Riley, and the Heat’s status as the front-runner to keep him remains unchanged, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald hears. Jackson lists the Lakers, Knicks, Pelicans, Kings and Bucks as other teams that are expected to have interest in signing the guard.
Dragic has previously confirmed that he’ll turn down his $7.5MM player option. The Heat possess the guard’s Bird rights, meaning they can offer him a fifth year, which is reportedly something Dragic values highly. The 29-year-old has previously said the Heat meet all the criteria he’s looking for in a team from a basketball standpoint and he’s named Miami as his favorite U.S. city. Dragic wants the Heat to play much faster next season, but he’s been assured that’s a key part of Miami’s plan, a source tells Jackson.
Still, Dragic has reportedly viewed the Lakers as a “perfect fit,” so perhaps Los Angeles is Miami’s biggest threat to sign the winner of the NBA’s 2013/14 Most Improved Player award. The Knicks and Lakers, along with the Heat, were among Dragic’s preferred destinations prior to the deadline trade that sent him from Phoenix to Miami.