Watching Dragic: Mavs Luka Idol Helps Heat To NBA Finals

Mike Fisher

We were fans of the idea a year ago, and we'll be fans of the idea again when the Miami Heat's NBA season is over. "Goran Dragic to the Dallas Mavericks'' was, to us, a glorious concept, not because we knew he'd help his team to its Conference Finals, not because we knew he'd make big shots in a chase toward the NBA Finals, not because we knew he'd make an ideal sidekick to a superstar ...

But because we know Luka Doncic wishes for his boyhood idol to be here.

Instead, a summer-of-2019 trade that was to bring Dragic to Dallas (designed by Miami to create room for the Heat's pickup of that aforementioned superstar Jimmy Butler) got botched.

Somehow.

Mavs owner Mark Cuban has explained to DallasBasketball.com that it was a "miscommunication,'' but all we know for sure is that on the evening of July 30, 2019, we were told a Mavs trade for the veteran swingman Dragic was a done deal. And in our view, assuming the Mavs were going to get some salary relief (Dragic was on the books for $19 mil), it was a good deal ...

Because it was Luka-friendly.

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But now? Dragic is Butler-friendly, Heat boss Pat Riley having quickly re-made Miami into a title contender that just out-jousted the Boston Celtics for East supremacy. Miami is going to the NBA Finals to take on LeBron's Lakers - and Dragic will be center-stage. Or, at least just a bit off to the side.

The Athletic writes that there exists a "Dragic-Butler partnership – a bromance that has found them bonding in the bubble over bottles of Michelob Ultras, cups of Big Head coffee, and singing the “Bad Boys” theme song from “Cops.'' 

“He’s a winner, man. That’s my guy,” Butler said. “I’m glad that he’s on my team. He’s so smart. Doesn’t care about stats. He just wants to win, and I think that everybody overlooks that. He’s huge and he has been all year and making sure that everybody is in the right place, everybody is comfortable, and everybody has the most confidence that they can play with on the floor and he’s our leader. He is.”

Countered Dragic: ”We have a great chance. As long as we play together like we already demonstrated in this bubble. Of course, our leader is Jimmy Butler.''

Maybe Dallas will eventually get another crack at Goran Dragic. But for now, the Mavs are left to watch the NBA Finals and pondering what pieces can help them advance next time around. And it's easy to imagine the specifics of what, and who, Luka Doncic is watching.

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