Goran Dragic Talks Trade Rumors, Butler, Health

Shortly after free agency opened on the night of June 30, the Heat appeared to have a trade in place to send Goran Dragic to Dallas in order to help make room under the team’s hard cap for swingman Jimmy Butler. However, a miscommunication between the Heat and Mavericks scuttled the deal, and while Dragic remained on the trade block for at least another day or two, he’ll ultimately return to Miami to start the 2019/20 season.

As Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald relays, Dragic missed out on much of that trade-rumor drama on the first night of free agency, since he was asleep in Slovenia when those reports surfaced.

“Of course, the next day, in the morning, I received a lot of texts,” Dragic said. “It was a little bit crazy, because at first you didn’t know if the deal went through or not. So a lot of my friends called me and were asking me. But I did not have a clue, because I had just woke up.”

Interestingly, Dragic said he didn’t speak to his agent or the Heat about the trade rumors and opted to “just let it go” when it became clear he’d be staying put. As he prepares to enter a contract year, Dragic expressed enthusiasm about Miami’s offseason moves (“I think we’re a better team”) and touched on a handful of other topics.

Here are some highlights, via Chiang:

On the acquisition of Jimmy Butler:

“I mean, he’s a great competitor. You can see that on the court. I don’t know him personally, but as a player, when I play against him he’s really a tough defender, he’s really vocal on the floor. I think he sets an example for the other players. I think he’s a huge addition for us, especially to lead this group. He can play on both ends, defense and on offense. He’s a great addition to our team.”

On the health of his right knee, which was an issue in 2018/19:

“I’m good, I’m good. I was working hard. My leg is way stronger than last year. Basically the right leg is stronger than the left one. I’m doing some basketball drills, some lifting weights. Everything is going like we planned.”

On his upcoming free agency in 2020:

“If I’m honest, I don’t even think about it, because I’m more in the present, because I’m trying to get back to being healthy this year. So this is my priority, just to stay focused and do my job. And when the time is going to come, then I’m going to think about my future. So, it doesn’t make sense to think it right now, because the season still didn’t start. And I haven’t felt how my body is going to react. So, we’ll see.”

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