Goran Dragic

International Notes: Caboclo, Brown, Nunn, Pre-Draft Camp

Bruno Caboclo‘s future with KK Partizan could be in jeopardy after he recently left the team without permission to travel to Orlando, according to BasketNews.

The Serbian club announced sanctions on Caboclo for “setting a precedent” for his teammates, although the details weren’t released. Partizan will start a best-of-three playoff series with Crvena Zvezda on Monday.

The team said Caboclo “allegedly” traveled to Florida as part of his duties with the Brazilian national team, but a report from Mozzart Sport states that he was attending a child custody hearing. Caboclo reportedly asked for permission to attend the hearing nearly two weeks ago, but the request was denied because it conflicted with preparing for the playoffs.

The announcement from Partizan notes that the team has an option to keep Caboclo under contract, but no decision has been made. The 28-year-old forward has been playing overseas since his last NBA appearance during the 2020/21 season.

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • Former NBA point guard Lorenzo Brown has no intention of leaving Maccabi Tel Aviv, BasketNews adds in a separate story. Brown holds a Spanish passport that enables him to play for Spain’s national team, and there were rumors that he might consider signing with Real Madrid. “I have no idea what is happening and where these rumors come from. I read a lot, like all of you, but I fully intend to stay at Maccabi. I’m very comfortable here,” he said. “I think this is the best place I’ve ever played. I’m looking forward to the next season to start a new journey together with my teammates.”
  • Kendrick Nunn led Panathinaikos to the EuroLeague title, but he may not have joined the Greek team without an assist from NBA veteran Goran Dragic, Eurohoops relays. In an interview with Meridian Sport, Panathinaikos sporting director Sani Becirovic talked about the role Dragic played in recruiting Nunn. “Goran Dragic helped me a lot there. At the time, Kendrick was training with Zoran Dragic in Miami, so Goran allowed me to explain everything to him,” Becirovic said. “… It still wasn’t easy getting an important NBA player to leave Disneyland. That was the hardest.”
  • A few NBA players and a collection of assistant coaches are attending a pre-draft camp for international prospects in Treviso this weekend, according to Eurohoops. James Harden, Nikola Jovic, Vasilije Micic and Ivica Zubac made an appearance and signed autographs at adidas EuroCamp.

Southeast Notes: Ingles, Magic, Butler, Dragic, Hornets

The Magic will get some reinforcements on Friday, according to Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel, who says that forward Joe Ingles is no longer listed on the injury report after missing the team’s past 13 games due to a sprained left ankle.

Ingles had been a key reserve off Orlando’s bench early in the season, averaging 5.1 points, 3.5 assists, and 2.8 rebounds in 18.7 minutes per night across 23 healthy appearances before being injured in his 24th game.

The Magic are still relatively banged up, with Franz Wagner (right ankle sprain) and Gary Harris (right calf strain) set to sit out for a fourth straight game on Friday, while Jonathan Isaac will be unavailable for a 10th consecutive contest.

Isaac is being listed as out due to an illness after being sidelined for nine games due to a hamstring strain, Beede notes — we’ll see once that illness passes whether the forward is ready to return from his hamstring injury. As for Wagner, he went through a light workout on Thursday, but isn’t taking contact yet, per head coach Jamahl Mosley.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Jimmy Butler (right toe MP joint sprain) has been upgraded on the Heat‘s injury report, but he’s still considered doubtful to play on Friday vs. Orlando, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. There’s a sense that Butler could make his return on Sunday vs. Charlotte or Monday in Brooklyn, Chiang adds.
  • Veteran guard Goran Dragic, who recently announced his retirement as a player, spoke to Chiang about why he had hoped to finish his career with the Heat, as well as his favorite memories of his time in Miami. Dragic also stated that he “definitely” has interest in joining the organization in some capacity during the next phase of his career. “I don’t know if I want to be a coach,” Dragic said. “My main thing right now is I would like to stay in Miami to be with my kids, to be a dad. But definitely, that’s my dream, to work for the Heat some day. You know, the goals change every year. And maybe in one year, it’s going to be, ‘I want to be a coach.’ You never know.”
  • The Hornets officially unveiled plans on Friday for $215MM in renovations to the Spectrum Center. Chase Jordan of The Charlotte Observer takes a closer look at what fans can expect from the renovation project, which is being funded by the city. Work is scheduled to begin in May 2024 and conclude before the start of the 2025/26 season.

Heat Notes: Butler, Dragic, Highsmith, O. Robinson, D. Robinson

Heat star forward Jimmy Butler will sit out for the eighth time in nine games when Miami faces Houston on Monday, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

Butler was initially sidelined with a strained left calf. He suffered an toe sprain on his right foot when he tried to return on Dec. 30.

Butler is inching closer toward being ineligible for postseason awards. He’ll miss his 12th game on Monday and players must take the court in at least 65 games to stay eligible.

We have more on the Heat:

  • Goran Dragic, who announced his retirement, revealed he had discussions regarding a possible reunion with the Heat, Winderman relays. “The only (NBA) option was Miami, with whom I was in talks,” Dragic told a Slovenia media outlet. “In the end, it didn’t work out because they have too many players under contract.” Dragic had opportunities to play in Europe but declined for family reasons. “I never wanted to go back to Europe. I wouldn’t want to be without my children living in the U.S. for a year,” he said.
  • In a positive development, Haywood Highsmith is expected to be available on Monday, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald tweets. He’s cleared the league’s concussion protocol after missing three games.
  • Orlando Robinson erupted for 41 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks for the team’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, on Friday, Chiang notes. Robinson had his $1.8MM salary for this season guaranteed when he remained on the Heat’s roster beyond Sunday afternoon’s deadline.
  • Duncan Robinson is enjoying a bounce-back season, averaging a career-high 14.2 points and 3.1 assists per game. He told Mark Medina of Sportskeeda that his offseason preparation set him up for success. “For me, it’s about increased opportunity and the culmination of a lot of reps and work this offseason,” he said. “I was being deliberate with how I wanted to improve. I think a big thing also has been my mindset shift with being more aggressive.”

International Notes: Dragic, Knight, Roberson, Topic

At a press conference on Thursday, veteran guard Goran Dragic, who recently announced his retirement, said that he received offers from several EuroLeague teams but didn’t want to play in Europe and leave his children in the United States, per SportKlub (hat tip to BasketNews.com).

Dragic named Olimpia Milano, Real Madrid, Panathinaikos, and Barcelona as some of the teams that had interest in him. However, he had been hoping to work out a deal to remain in the NBA and confirmed he had some discussions with the Heat. After Miami passed on him and no other opportunities arose, the 37-year-old decided to call it a career, noting on Thursday that his left knee isn’t 100% healthy.

Dragic confirmed that he’ll be hosting a farewell event in Ljubljana, Slovenia on August 23 and 24, with NBA stars like Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jimmy Butler expected to attend — Doncic is a fellow Slovenian, while Antetokounmpo and Butler are former NBA teammates. Dragic added that he hasn’t decided what his next career move will be now that he’s finished as a player.

“I want to stay in basketball,” he said. “I don’t see myself as a coach. You are away from home for too long. Maybe in some other role.”

Here are a few more notes from around the international basketball world:

  • Longtime NBA guard Brandon Knight has signed with AEK Athens for the rest of the 2023/24 season, the Greek team announced in a press release. Knight, who appeared in 451 regular season NBA games from 2011-22, last played in the league with Dallas during the 2021/22 season. The 32-year-old holds career averages of 14.0 points and 3.9 assists per contest for six teams.
  • Veteran forward Andre Roberson will be competing in this month’s Dubai International Basketball Championship, announcing this week that he’ll be part of the team from the Philippines at the event (Twitter video link). Known as a defensive specialist, Roberson appeared in over 300 regular season NBA games from 2013-21. It appears he’ll be on the same roster in Dubai as Dwight Howard, who has also reportedly committed to play for the Filipino squad.
  • Serbian point guard Nikola Topic, who had been rising up 2024 draft boards of late as he debuted for Crvena Zvezda, suffered a knee injury in his second EuroLeague game and is expected to be out for about six weeks, a source tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Topic is at No. 5 overall in ESPN’s latest prospect rankings for ’24.

Goran Dragic Officially Announces Retirement

DECEMBER 31: Dragic has officially confirmed his retirement in a statement of his own, published in a story on Instagram.

“I am officially announcing my retirement from professional basketball. I have lived my greatest dream and I am extremely grateful for the countless people in my life who have enabled me to play and to play this long,” Dragic wrote before specifically thanking several of the people who have aided him in his journey, as well as the fans who supported him.

“… I am prepared to pursue my next challenge and I’d love to stay involved in the game of basketball, which is and always will be something I love. I also want to spend as much quality time as possible to raise my children. … All good things come to an end but this dream of basketball will always be with me.”

DECEMBER 30: Fifteen-year NBA veteran and Slovenian basketball legend Goran Dragic has announced plans to retire in 2024, with a farewell game set for August, according to Mozzart Sport.

The August farewell event, hosted by Spontanzo and the Goran Dragic Foundation, is set to take place over the span of two days in Ljubljana and, according to BasketNews, the details of the match are to be unveiled on Jan. 4.

It’s unclear if Dragic, currently a free agent, intends to call it a career immediately or if he still plans to seek out an opportunity before the end of the 2023/24 season. In November, we wrote Dragic was looking for an NBA job and; a report in September indicated that he had interest in playing for the Heat. However, he has remained unsigned.

Dragic, 37, most recently suited up for the Bucks last season. He spent 51 games with the Bulls in 2022/23 before being waived in February and joining Milwaukee in March.

Dragic made his NBA debut in 2008 with the Suns, then was traded to Houston in 2011. The Slovenian point guard returned to Phoenix in 2012 and it was there he emerged into one of the league’s top floor generals.

In ’13/14, Dragic was named to the All-NBA Third Team and earned the league’s Most Improved Player award, averaging 20.3 points and 5.9 assists with Phoenix. Then, in the ’14/15 season, the Suns traded Goran and his brother, Zoran Dragic, to the Heat. Goran aided the Heat to four playoff appearances, including a run to the Finals in 2020. He was named an All-Star with Miami in ’17/18 and also had stints with the Raptors and Nets.

In 946 career NBA games (530 starts), Dragic holds career averages of 13.3 points, 4.7 assists and 3.0 rebounds.

And-Ones: Ibaka, Foster, Dragic, Olympic Qualifiers

Serge Ibaka is focused more on contributing to his new EuroLeague team than returning to the NBA, writes Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews (subscription required). Ibaka signed with FC Bayern Munich this summer and is adjusting to being back in Europe again after spending the past 14 seasons in the NBA. He’s coming off a season-best 20-point game and is averaging 11.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per night while shooting 56.7% from the floor for the German squad.

The 34-year-old big man is grateful to be playing again after ending last season in limbo. He appeared in just 16 games with Milwaukee before being traded at the February deadline to Indiana, which waived him two days later.

“My focus is playing in Bayern. I want to keep improving here,” Ibaka said. “Playing basketball is one of the most beautiful things one can do. I didn’t play for 10 months and now I’m playing basketball, something I like to do. I’m grateful for this moment.”

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports believes the NBA needs to address its Scott Foster situation after the official’s latest incident with Warriors guard Chris Paul Wednesday night. Calling Foster “a prima donna ref” with an “outrageous and unchecked ego,” Bourguet points out that he ruined Paul’s return to Phoenix by giving him two quick technicals and ejecting him late in the first half. Suns fans turned out to welcome back one of the most significant players in franchise history, but Foster upstaged that by extending the long-running feud he has with Paul. Suns star Devin Booker told reporters that he could feel the tension between Foster and Paul before the ejection. “Yeah, ’cause I’ve seen it closely too,” Booker said. “This was long before Chris was in Phoenix, so that’s some history that they might have to settle between themselves one day, when they’re both retired.”
  • Partizan Belgrade and Olimpia Milano are among the teams that have expressed interest in Goran Dragic, relays Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando. The report, which originated in the Serbian media outlet SportKlub, said Dragic is still hoping for an NBA offer and is reluctant to commit to a European team. The 37-year-old point guard wasn’t picked up this summer after spending last season with Chicago and Milwaukee.
  • Spain, Latvia, Greece, and Puerto Rico have emerged as the favorites to host Olympic qualifying tournaments for the 2024 Games in Paris, Urbonas adds in a separate story. A draw ceremony is set for November 27 in Switzerland, and the official announcement of the host nations is expected before then. Twenty-four nations will be vying for four Olympic spots in the six-team qualifying tournaments.

Heat Notes: Herro, Lillard, Richardson, Dragic, Roster Spots

Damian Lillard spent the summer trying to get traded, but Heat guard Tyler Herro, who likely would have been part of any deal that brought Lillard to Miami, was happy to stay where he is, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel.

Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin reportedly didn’t want Herro, which made it difficult for the teams to reach a deal without a third franchise involved. Although Herro doesn’t hold any resentment toward Cronin for his decision, he’s happy with the way things worked out.

“I didn’t want to go to Portland, so I’m glad Portland didn’t want me,” Herro said. “I just don’t want to be in Portland. So it’s not personal with Portland, at all. I’m just happy to be on the court. I haven’t played since April. I broke my hand and I haven’t played since then, so I’m ready to play.”

Teammates have been raving about Herro’s performance in camp as he returned from the injury that forced him to miss virtually all of last season’s playoffs. Herro doesn’t believe the perception of his importance to the Heat should change because the team reached the NBA Finals without him.

“I got hurt and obviously we went on a run,” he said. “So I don’t know if that changed people’s perspectives on the way that I play or my value. Nothing has changed. I haven’t gotten any worse. I’ve only gotten better, older, more experienced. And our team didn’t get better without me, we just started shooting better and making shots. We didn’t make shots all year. And I’m the best shooter on the team. So I don’t think with me sitting out affected our shooting percentage. I just think we started making shots.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Lillard discussed his request to be dealt to the Heat during a weekend interview with Sirius XM NBA Radio (Twitter link). “I don’t think it was a secret that Miami is where I wanted to go when I asked for a trade,” he said. “When this conversation started, it was like ‘We’re not going to be able to build this team out. We’ll help you get to where you want to go.’ And that was where I wanted to go.”
  • Josh Richardson appears to be the backup point guard heading into the preseason opener, Winderman states in a mailbag column. In response to a reader’s question about signing Goran Dragic, Winderman said he doubts that the team would want two 37-year-old point guards on the roster, but he adds that the organization’s view of Dragic might change if Kyle Lowry gets traded. Winderman also mentions John Wall if the Heat are in the market for veteran help.
  • Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald takes at closer look at the Exhibit 10 players competing for a roster spot: Justin Champagnie, Cheick Diallo, Drew Peterson, Cole Swider and Alondes Williams.

Jrue Holiday Rumors: Heat, Pacers, Knicks, Celtics, More

The Lakers, Clippers, Heat, Celtics, Bulls and Sixers are among the teams Jrue Holiday would be interested in joining, a league source tells Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

That said, unless the Trail Blazers are willing to hold onto Holiday for at least a few months, you can scratch the Lakers from the list of possible suitors. They obviously aren’t trading LeBron James for Holiday, and the other players they could theoretically use to match salaries aren’t trade-eligible until December or January.

The Blazers are expected to prioritize young players and draft assets in exchange for Holiday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on NBA Today (YouTube link).

Holiday is expected to draw interest from a variety of teams, sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Insider link). The Heat could be among that group, but Portland “had no major interest in any individual Miami player or draft asset, and limited interest in whatever combination Miami might cobble” during negotiations for Damian Lillard, Lowe reports.

According to Chiang and Jackson, the Heat haven’t ruled out making an aggressive push for Holiday, but they didn’t do it immediately on Thursday. Miami isn’t expected to pursue James Harden, and has yet to express interest in Pacers sharpshooter Buddy Hield, who is reportedly on the trading block after failing to reach an extension, a source tells Chiang and Jackson. Free agent guard Goran Dragic is interested in returning to the Heat, but that interest doesn’t appear to be mutual, per The Herald’s duo.

Sources tell Lowe the Pacers and Knicks are expected to have a level of interest in Holiday, though it’s unclear how seriously they’ll pursue the defensive stalwart. While Lowe believes Holiday could be a good fit with both clubs, he wonders if Indiana will decide it’s too early to make a win-now move.

Boston was previously cited as a possible suitor, but multiple sources tell Brian Robb of MassLive that the Celtics will likely be outbid and aren’t expected to land Holiday. Still, the team has long been interested in the veteran guard — Boston tried to acquire Holiday a few years ago before he was traded to Milwaukee, a source tells Robb.

Here are a few more notes related to Holiday, who was sent to the Blazers from the Bucks as part of yesterday’s Lillard blockbuster:

  • Bucks star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo didn’t have a direct impact on the Lillard deal, Wojnarowski noted in the same segment. “Directly, (Antetokounmpo) literally played no role,” Wojnarowski said. “In fact, (GM) Jon Horst did not bring this trade idea or sign off on it to Giannis Antetokounmpo because Jrue Holiday was involved. And the relationship there and the reverence that this organization and these players have for Holiday. He did not want to put that to Giannis Antetokounmpo and have him have that on his conscience necessarily that he might sign off or not sign off on it.” However, as Wojnarowski observes, Antetokounmpo putting pressure on the organization by saying winning more championships was the most important thing in his career certainly played a significant indirect factor in Milwaukee trading for Lillard.
  • In addition to the previously mentioned teams that might pursue Holiday, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (Insider link) believes the Pelicans, Kings and Warriors would also benefit from the All-Star guard’s services. Over at The Athletic, John Hollinger lists the Heat, Clippers and Celtics as logical destinations for Holiday.
  • Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star considers the pros and cons of the Pacers pursuing Holiday. As Dopirak writes, head coach Rick Carlisle heaped praise on the five-time All-Defensive member during the 2022/23 season. “I’d like to somebody to name five other basketball players that are better than Jrue Holiday at the entire game,” Carlisle said. “Guy’s an amazing player, both sides of the ball. His scoring tonight was at another level obviously, but defensively, he can guard anybody. Just a nod of respect to him. He’s a guy that too often is overlooked as a truly, truly great player.” Still, Dopirak thinks it’s probably too early for Indiana to go after a 33-year-old veteran like Holiday, who can be a free agent in 2024 if he declines his player option.

Southeast Notes: Lillard, Coulibaly, Washington, Williams, McClung

While the Heat continue to explore options to acquire star guard Damian Lillard from the Trail Blazers, the NBA eliminated one potential option that could have led to Portland delaying a trade, notes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

As part of the league’s ruling that healthy star players can’t sit out from games, the NBA also prohibited teams from making any long-term shutdown “when a star player stops participating in games or plays in a materially reduced role in circumstances affecting the integrity of the game.”

As Jackson notes, ESPN’s Bobby Marks said the rule specifically precludes Lillard and Portland from mutually agreeing for the seven-time All-Star to stay away from the team while it works on a trade. A punishment for disregarding the rule would involve significant fines, per Marks.

While it’s unclear whether either party was exploring that as an option, it won’t be possible anymore. This is advantageous for the Heat, writes Jackson, who says that Portland must decide whether to play Lillard and risk possible injury, which would diminish his value.

There are still a handful of notable free agent point guards available if the Heat don’t get Lillard, such as the recently released Cameron Payne, but the Heat haven’t been actively pursuing one, Jackson writes. According to Jackson’s source, the Heat could look at options that involve Tyler Herro or Josh Richardson as the starting primary ball-handler if the team is unable to land the star guard.

Of the available free agent point guards, Goran Dragic is a veteran option who spent 2015-21 in Miami. Jackson writes that Dragic has interest in joining the Heat.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Wizards rookie wing Bilal Coulibaly was one of the 2023 draft’s biggest risers, culminating in him being selected with the No. 7 overall pick. Josh Robbins of The Athletic spoke to three anonymous NBA scouts about Coulibaly, who spent part of the last year playing alongside No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama. The scouts agreed that athleticism and an impressive defensive toolbox and instincts are among Coulibaly’s strengths, while his shooting and physicality are improvement points. However, all scouts appeared to be high on the 19-year-old’s upside. “The sky’s the limit for him,” one anonymous scout said to Robbins.
  • Hornets forward P.J. Washington re-signed with Charlotte on a three-year, $46.5MM deal in August, nearly two months after free agency began. While there was some speculation about whether Washington would ultimately return to the Queen City, the 25-year-old forward sounds relieved to be back with the Hornets. “It means the world to me,” Washington said in a video posted by the Hornets social media team (Twitter link). “Obviously, back in 2019, Charlotte took a chance on me and I’m just blessed to be in the position I am today.”
  • The Magic announced they signed Brandon Williams and Mac McClung to Exhibit 10 deals on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Orlando’s G League affiliate Osceola Magic acquired the returning player rights to both Williams and McClung. If an Exhibit 10 player is waived by an NBA club before the season begins and spends at least 60 days with that team’s G League affiliate, he can earn a bonus worth up to $75K. This week’s G League trades assure that Williams and McClung can suit up for Osceola this season if and when they are waived by Orlando. Williams was acquired from the College Park Skyhawks in exchange for Joel Ayayi, Robert Baker II and a 2023 G League first-round pick, per the Orlando Sentinel’s Jason Beede (Twitter link), while McClung was acquired from the Delaware Blue Coats in exchange for the rights to Jeff Dowtin and a 2024 G League second-round pick (Twitter link).

Heat Notes: Herro, Adebayo, Butler, Haslem

If the Heat can’t trade for Damian Lillard before the season begins, Tyler Herro may be the best option as the starting point guard, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Herro has been a shooting guard throughout his career, but he could be the most effective choice to replace Gabe Vincent, who signed with the Lakers this summer.

Giving point guard duties to Herro would allow Miami to keep Kyle Lowry in a reserve role, where he thrived at the end of last season and in the playoffs. At age 37, Lowry may be best suited for limited minutes rather than being counted on to handle the starting job again.

Winderman points out that Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo can help facilitate the offense, so Herro wouldn’t need to become a traditional point guard. He adds that if the experiment doesn’t work, the Heat could look for another option during the season, such as free agent Goran Dragic.

There’s more from Miami:

  • Team USA could use another big man like Adebayo during the World Cup, but he’s probably better off with a summer of rest, Winderman states in another piece. Training camps will open three weeks after the end of the tournament, which is why a lot of veteran players decided not to participate. Winderman wonders whether Adebayo will be more eager to return to international competition in the 2024 Olympics.
  • Butler’s tendency to sit out regular season games may prevent him from being considered for postseason awards, Winderman adds. Players are now required to participate in at least 65 games to be eligible, and Butler hasn’t reached that number since the 2018/19 season.
  • Butler refused to answer a question about Team USA’s loss in the World Cup when approached by a journalist Sunday at the U.S. Open, according to a BasketNews story. Butler thought he was being asked for a photo when Sasa Ozmo of SportKlub Srbija introduced himself, and he quickly ended the conversation when he heard the question. “I don’t care about the World Cup,” Butler responded.
  • The Miami Marlins will honor longtime Heat forward Udonis Haslem at their September 7 game, the team announced on Twitter. Haslem will get a one-day contract with the MLB club, which will hold “UD Night” at the ballpark.