Goran Dragic has turned down his $7.5MM player option for next season, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). The team has yet to make an official announcement, but since player options don’t require players to say when they’re opting out, only when they’re opting in, there may well be no formal acknowledgement of the move from the team. Dragic’s decision has been thoroughly expected, as he said in April that he would opt out, as he had long planned to do. The Heat are preparing a five-year offer in excess of $80MM for him to return, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported this weekend, but an offer in the neighborhood of $80MM would still be significantly less than the max.
The expectation when Miami acquired Dragic from the Suns in exchange for a package that included two first-round picks was that the Heat would make him a max offer this summer, as Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com reported at the time. However, the team is apparently in salary-clearing mode with Dwyane Wade angling for more money amid his openness to leave Miami, so perhaps that’s led the Heat to try to see if they can save on Dragic, a client of Bill Duffy and Rade Filipovich.
A five-year deal worth somewhat more than $80MM would still be roughly in line with what other teams can offer in terms of total money, since competitors are limited to handing out only four-year contracts. Dragic has been insistent that he’s high on Miami, but he apparently nonetheless saw the Lakers as a “perfect fit” at the trade deadline, and that team is reportedly a likely suitor, as are the Knicks, Pelicans, Kings and Bucks.