DALLAS - A lot of attention around the NBA has been placed on the Dallas Mavericks as a potential landing spot for veteran guard Goran Dragic since the Kyle Lowry sign-and-trade involving the Miami Heat.
After the trade that sent Dragic to the Toronto Raptors, he made a comment about having 'higher ambitions' than to play for the team. A controversy was sparked and ultimately an apology to the team's fans was the result.
As the start of training camp approaches, the speculation has continued regarding the likelihood of the Raptors entering training camp with Dragic as a member of the team.
During an appearance on Halftime Sports, Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer shared that his sources still expect Dragic to get bought out by the Raptors and 'swiftly sign' with the Mavericks.
"All my sources around the league have told me they expect Goran Dragic to be bought out by the Raptors and swiftly sign with the Mavericks."
There is little reason for the Raptors to keep a 35-year-old guard set to play on an expiring contract after publicly expressing a lack of desire to be a member of the organization. With Fred VanVleet and Malachi Flynn already in the fold, why keep Dragic around?
It's difficult to find a trade suitor for a player earning $19.4 million in salary as training camp approaches. Most teams around the NBA are quite satisfied with their roster and hold great optimism with a 'wait to see' approach before making changes.
The Mavericks are not the typical team when evaluating the circumstances. Owner Mark Cuban made comments early in the offseason about the team needing to add a secondary ball-handler to alleviate pressure from Luka Doncic.
While the Mavericks missed out on Kyle Lowry, the team did come away with solid additions in Reggie Bullock and Sterling Brown to add more '3-and-D' options around Doncic. Regardless, the need for a secondary ball-handler remains with Dragic as a top option.
Further speculation about the Dragic's likelihood of eventually landing with the Mavericks was fueled by Doncic posting an Instagram story featuring both players. The two players have been working out together in Slovenia with Dragic even being pictured with Doncic around the time of signing his supermax contract extension.
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The extensive relationship that Doncic and Dragic share from their time together with the Slovenian National Team in the past is reason enough to place attention on the possibility of them teaming up. Then factor in sharing Bill Duffy of BDA Sports as an agent and it furthers.
In speaking of Duffy, one of the factors to take into consideration is that Dragic would need to give money back from the $19.4 million salary is set to earn this season to reach a buyout.
The Mavericks already have 15 players signed under contract for the 2021-22 season -- putting them at the NBA's limit. Dallas would need to waive a player and payout dead money or trade a contract to a team while attaching an asset of some sort to get a deal done.
Since the Mavericks already used the non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Bullock and used most of the bi-annual exception on Brown, Dallas is currently limited to making a veteran's minimum offer to Dragic after a buyout.
To create room in order to make a greater contract offer to Dragic, the Mavericks would need to trade a contract of some sort. A prime candidate to be moved appears to be Trey Burke, who is set to earn just under $3.2 million this season.
The Mavericks could also lean on the overabundance of centers currently on the roster to clear spending room, too.
Another factor to take into consideration is Toronto's interest in a possible Ben Simmons trade. Dragic's contract would be a helpful factor for salary matching purposes if Pascal Siakam was not included in a package. Could a buyout instead come from the 76ers? Also, would there be mutual interest in completing a buyout?
Simmons would need to be traded to the Raptors under specific circumstances for any of that to even matter. Despite the small chance of it transpiring, it still remains something to monitor.
There would be a lot of options opened up for the Mavericks in the event they were to sign Dragic after he received a contract buyout from the Raptors. Dallas would still have the near $10.9 million trade exception at their disposal.
The perception of the Mavericks' offseason haul would undoubtedly change if it were to be capped off with a Dragic signing. Dallas needs a secondary threat to keep Doncic fresh for the fourth quarter of playoff games and Doncic checks the box assuming he stays healthy.
READ MORE: Does Doncic Workout Tie Dragic To Mavs?