Goran Dragic has retired from international basketball, but he might be persuaded to change his mind for the 2020 Olympics, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. After helping Slovenia capture the European championship last summer, Dragic plans a much more relaxed offseason this year.
“The people from the federation have been here in Miami; they tried to persuade me,” Dragic said. ‘We had a good meeting. I said my body at that time, I need to think about myself and my career. I gave to my country everything I had. Now it’s time to end.”
Dragic, who turned 32 last week, is hoping a few months of rest will pay off next season. He played 75 games this year, but his numbers declined across the board in scoring, assists and field goal percentage.
There’s more today out of Miami:
- Udonis Haslem appeared in just 14 games this season, but Dragic says the intangibles he provides makes him worth a roster spot, Jackson adds in the same story. “It’s really tough to explain to people outside what he means to this team,” Dragic said. “Everybody is looking, ‘OK, he’s not playing’ but they don’t know how much he brings to this team, especially with his experience and leadership. A lot of guys in this locker room need leadership like UD, especially Hassan [Whiteside]. I think UD can provide that. He’s there where usually some guys would not be, in the toughest moments, when you need something, he’s there. That’s why everybody loves him.” Haslem, who will turn 38 in June, is headed into free agency and hasn’t decided if he wants to play another season.
- Don’t expect a coaching change in Miami as long as Pat Riley remains the team president, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Erik Spoelstra is closely tied to Riley’s philosophy, Winderman notes, and the current roster probably wouldn’t fit together without him in charge.
- The Heat won’t be involved in Tuesday’s lottery, but the results could affect them for years to come, Winderman points out in a separate piece. The lottery will help determine the balance of power at the top of the East, with the Cavaliers owning the Nets’ unprotected first-rounder and the Lakers’ first pick headed to either the Sixers or Celtics. Those teams could add to their talent base or they could use a high lottery pick as a bargaining chip if the Spurs decide to trade Kawhi Leonard.