Goran Dragic Apologizes For Comments On Trade To Raptors

Veteran point guard Goran Dragic, who was traded from the Heat to the Raptors in the Kyle Lowry sign-and-trade deal last week, apologized on Monday for comments he made in his home country of Slovenia about the trade, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca.

A clip that surfaced on Twitter on Monday of Dragic speaking to Slovenian reporters was accompanied by the English caption, “Toronto is not my preferred destination. I have higher ambitions.” While there was some uncertainty about whether something may have been lost in translation, Dragic didn’t claim he was misquoted. He did tell Grange, however, that the context of the quote was missing.

“I was in the center of the city and the journalists were there and I was asked about Toronto and it was basically taken out of context,” Dragic said. “I told them that I had spent seven years in Miami and that would be the preferred destination for me because my family is there and everything, not Toronto.”

Dragic, who is on an expiring $19.5MM contract, was always expected to be part of the Raptors’ return for Lowry after the Heat picked up his team option, but there was speculation for much of last week that he might be flipped to a third team. The Mavericks were frequently mentioned as a potential destination, since Dallas had been on the lookout for a point guard in free agency and joining the Mavs would give Dragic the opportunity to team up with fellow Slovenian Luka Doncic.

It’s still possible Dragic will be moved to the Mavs or another team at some point, but no deal appears imminent, and he told Grange he’s prepared to spend the 2021/22 season in Toronto.

“My message basically, to all Toronto fans, is I would like to apologize,” Dragic said. “It didn’t come out the right way. I know they love their team, and they should be proud, it is one of the best organizations in the NBA. They’ve already won a championship and I didn’t, so what I said, it really was not appropriate.

“… I’ve always been professional. You can ask a bunch of people. Everywhere I’ve played, wherever I’m going to play, I’m going to be professional and do my job,” he continued. “I love basketball, I love to play and I’m going to give 100% wherever I play. Right now I’m (with) Toronto and that’s my main thing to think about.”

Asked during an appearance on 590 The Fan in Toronto about Dragic, Raptors general manager Bobby Webster cautioned that the 35-year-old’s comments were translated to English and he’d want to “get it directly” from the point guard to understand what he meant, Grange writes. Webster also stressed that the Raptors aren’t a rebuilding team looking to jettison veterans.

“We feel like we’re gonna be competitive, we have a core — as we’ve talked about — that’s been around for a while and has won at the highest level as well,” Webster said. “So think that we’ll just give it some time here to see how (Dragic) would fit in and if he likes it here or not. I think he’s a pro and he’s been around a lot and he’s obviously entitled to wanting to make the most of his years as his career comes down here … so I don’t think it’s in any way a slight or anything like that.”

The Lowry sign-and-trade was officially completed on Friday, so it can no longer be expanded to include a third team, but Dragic could be flipped to a new team immediately as long as his salary isn’t aggregated with another player’s in the deal.

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