The Toronto Raptors sent Goran Dragic to the San Antonio Spurs ahead of this year’s NBA Trade Deadline. Most expected for him to get bought out swiftly, and that is precisely what ended up happening.
As soon as the paperwork was signed, Dragic became the hottest free agent on the market — with six teams showing interest in bringing him onboard. Chief among them: the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks.
On Monday, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Dragic would sign with Brooklyn.
Given the larger roles he likely could have had with the Lakers or Bucks, many wondered how Dragic ultimately settled on the Nets.
Apparently, a lot of it had to do with head coach Steve Nash.
As reported by NBA insider Marc Stein, Nash “mentored Dragic in Phoenix when the Slovenian broke into the NBA” and thus became “entrenched as their lead recruiter.”
Specifically, Nash pitched to Dragic that this was an opportunity to join a team that will only improve from here.
“Nash registered key aspects of the Nets’ bid to Dragić on Friday as Brooklyn also maintains hope that Kyrie Irving will be more available for the stretch run if the vaccine mandate that has ruled him out of home games all season is finally lifted in New York City,” Stein noted.
Nash and Dragic spent three years together from 2008 to 2011 on the Phoenix Suns. Given how far back their bond stretches, it makes sense that they would opt to team up here.
While the Lakers would obviously present a larger playing opportunity for Dragic, the organization is a mess right now. The stars hate the front office; the front office is in shambles; one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing. It’s a headache Dragic clearly wanted to avoid.
As for Milwaukee, while the Bucks aren’t the dysfunctional disaster the Lakers are – Dragic simply had no ties to the squad.
The tweets speak for themselves. https://t.co/5shoQKynQF
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 21, 2022
It will be interesting to see what impact Dragic ultimately has on the Nets. Just one year ago he averaged 13.4 points and 4.4 assists on shooting splits of 43/37/83 for a Miami Heat squad that made the Finals. Clearly his time in Toronto was a massive disappointment, but the skill is still there.
If Dragic can get right and return to his 2021 form – this could be a huge addition for the Nets as they head into the home stretch of the season.