WEDNESDAY, 8:48am: Miami’s five-year offer to Dragic is expected to be for between $90MM and $100MM, Jackson reports. That would still likely be less than the max. The max won’t be known until the end of the July Moratorium, but based on an estimated starting salary of $18.96MM, the most Miami could give him over five years would be $109.02MM.
SATURDAY, 11:57pm: The Heat plan to make a five-year offer of more than $80MM to retain Goran Dragic, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com, though an amount in the vicinity of $80MM would be less than the max. The expectation in the immediate wake of Miami’s trade deadline acquisition of the former All-NBA Third Team guard was that the team would offer him the max to stay, as Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com wrote at the time, but Stein points to concerns over Dwyane Wade‘s potential free agency as one reason they’d offer somewhat less. The chances of Dragic leaving the Heat increase if Wade does, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported last month.
Dragic has a $7.5MM player option for next season that he’s said he’ll turn down to instead hit free agency. Miami is the only team capable of offering Dragic a five-year deal, since it has his Bird rights. Dragic can make as much as $85MM on a four-year offer from another team while a max offer from the Heat would top $100MM, Stein estimates. The precise figures won’t be known until the league sets its maximum salaries after the July Moratorium. It nonetheless appears as though the Heat are banking on Dragic’s affection for the Heat and the city of Miami as they seek to take advantage of the ability to spread a similar amount of money over an extra year.
Wade reportedly would welcome $20MM salaries if he is to turn down his $16.125MM player option, and he’s apparently open to leaving the Heat if necessary. The Heat would prefer that Wade opt in, according to Jackson, but a less lucrative offer to Dragic would offset all or part of the extra money the Heat would spend should Wade opt out and re-sign on a deal that pays $20MM next season. That savings would be particularly important with the Heat poised not only to pay the tax next season if they retain their existing players at market value, but also incur repeat-offender tax penalties for having been a tax team three out of four years.
The Lakers, whom Dragic reportedly saw as a “perfect fit” earlier this season, loom as likely suitors, as do the Knicks, Pelicans, Kings and Bucks, as Jackson reported. The Lakers, Knicks and Bucks all have the flexibility necessary under a projected $67.1MM cap to offer a four-year max contract to the client of Bill Duffy and Rade Filipovich.