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The Miami Heat have exercised their team option on Goran Dragic and positioned themselves to make a move for Kyle Lowry in 2021 NBA free agency.
Pat Riley and the Miami Heat are always looking to upgrade their roster. Unsurprisingly, they’re back on the hunt after following up a surprise NBA Finals run in the Orlando bubble with a disappointing first round.
On Sunday, on the eve of 2021 NBA free agency, the Heat announced they would exercise Goran Dragic’s $19.4 million team option for the upcoming season. At first glance, this seems like a hefty sum to pay for a 35-year-old point guard who has missed out on plenty of time over the past three seasons, but Miami is really just positioning itself for another upgrade.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, exercising Dragic’s team option is a harbinger of pursuing Kyle Lowry in a potential sign-and-trade, with Dragic’s $19.4 million as the base salary that would go to the Toronto Raptors if the two sides were able to. were to make a deal:
The Heat are gearing up for a run on Kyle Lowry
As ESPN Bobby Marks notes that this move allows the Heat to operate as an over-the-cap team, giving them the $9.5 million mid-level exception to work with and retaining the ability to recruit restricted free agent Duncan Robinson to return.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Heat are also interested in Lowry’s former backcourt-mate from their Toronto days, DeMar DeRozan. Both are unrestricted free agents this summer and should have many suitors.
Lowry will be one of the top names on the market as Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul are likely to stay with their respective teams. The New Orleans Pelicans and Philadelphia 76ers are also expected to show interest in Lowry, so there will be a market for his services. But if signing him doesn’t go through, the Heat will be able to provide Toronto with some sort of compensation when Lowry decides on Miami, with Dragic being the center of a deal accompanied by draft compensation or young players to facilitate a deal.
The situation is still fluid but rest assured the Heat will do everything they can to add one of the best free agents of the summer to a roster that includes Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
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