Heat Notes: Dragic, Lillard, Vincent, Smith

In an interview with local media in Slovenia, free agent point guard Goran Dragic revealed he had knee surgery during the 2022/23 season, which is why he was released by the Bulls and only played seven games after he signed with the Bucks, per of Siol.net. Dragic previously said he was dealing with left knee soreness.

I played really well until the middle of the season, then I had problems with a knee injury, so after that, it was kind of all agreed that they would bring Patrick Beverley to Chicago, and I went to Milwaukee. Then I also underwent knee surgery, which until now no one knew,” Dragic said (hat tip to BasketNews.com).

The 37-year-old said he’d like to return to the Heat if he’s able to, writes Lenart.

The main desire is to return to Miami,” Dragic said. “Now everyone is waiting for Damian Lillard to decide where he will go next, so everyone is off to a slow start. When this is known, the movement for the other players will open as well.

We are in talks with a few clubs, but much more will be known in a few days when the news will be released. You will see.”

However, there’s “nothing imminent” on a deal between the Heat and Dragic, a source tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (via Twitter). If a deal were to happen, it would likely be closer to training camp, according to Jackson.

“The Dragon” played seven seasons with Miami from 2014-21, making his lone All-Star appearance in ’17/18. He played 58 total games last season, averaging 6.3 points and 2.6 assists on .421/.359/.689 shooting.

Here’s more out of Miami:

  • As of mid-week, apparently the Trail Blazers had been “unmotivated” to seriously engage with the Heat on a potential Lillard trade, according to Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). Jackson’s reporting isn’t very surprising. Blazers GM Joe Cronin recently said a deal could take “months,” while other reports have stated there hasn’t been much progress in talks.
  • Appearing on JJ Redick‘s The Old Man and the Three podcast, Gabe Vincent discussed his decision to join the Lakers and leave Miami, as Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes. “It was very difficult,” Vincent said of leaving the Heat. “The relationships that I have with those guys are, to me, lifelong. Even the guys that I played with, to the staff, to the front office. I got to know all of them very well and closely. So it wasn’t an easy decision.” Financial constraints were the obstacle, with Vincent later telling Chiang he’d miss his teammates and will always look back fondly on his time with the organization.
  • Dru Smith is back with the Heat, on his fourth two-way deal in under two years, after finishing last season with the Nets on a two-way contract. He spoke this week about why he keeps ending up in Miami, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (subscription required). “I think it’s because I’m a good fit,” Smith said. “I think just the way the Heat like to play, the style of basketball they like to play, I think it fits my game well. I think I’m lucky to be here. I’m thankful to have this opportunity again.”
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