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Goran Dragic opts into $19.2 million final season on Heat contract

Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Basketball

MIAMI -- Goran Dragic is back in play for the Miami Heat, with the Sun Sentinel confirming Thursday through an NBA source that the veteran point guard has picked up the $19.2 million 2019-20 option on his contract.

Dragic had until June 29 to inform the Heat of his opt-in decision. By rule, he was ineligible to be traded until such a decision was made. He otherwise would have become a free agent on July 1.

The Heat continue to wait on a decision from center Hassan Whiteside, who holds a $27.1 million option for next season. A party close to Whiteside told the Sun Sentinel on Thursday that the center's decision is not expected to come until after next Thursday's NBA draft.

Dragic went into the offseason hopeful of extending his run in South Florida, but said he also needed time to weigh the factors involved.

"It's a lot of factors: my family, where they feel comfortable; me, where I'm going to feel comfortable; and winning, everything -- where I feel that they want me," he said. "It's a lot of stuff. But, like I said, I'm happy here in Miami. I told that to Pat (Riley), to everybody."

The Dragic decision was one of several offseason bookkeeping issues for the Heat. In addition to continue waiting on Whiteside, the Heat have until July 10 to decide whether to guarantee the full $21.3 million on the final year of Ryan Anderson's contract, with that obligation otherwise limited to $15.6 million for 2019-20 if the 3-point shooting forward is waived by that deadline.

 

There also remains the matter of whether forward Udonis Haslem, an impending free agent, decides whether to return for a 17th NBA season. Guard Dwyane Wade, also an impending free agent, has announced his retirement.

Even in the void of a Whiteside decision, the Heat already will be over the 2019-20 salary cap with Dragic's salary again on the books.

Dragic, 33, was acquired by the Heat at the February 2015 NBA trading deadline in a deal that sent two future first-round picks to the Phoenix Suns. The final element of that trade, an unprotected 2021 first-round pick, is now held by the Los Angeles Clippers.

The 2017 All-Star was limited to 36 games last season due to a chronic knee condition that led to midseason knee surgery, with additional time missed in March due to a calf strain upon his return. He was replaced in the interim as the Heat's starting point guard by Justise Winslow, returning to the lineup only when Winslow missed time late in the season with a bruised right thigh.

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