On the court, Goran Dragic's absence isn't going to make a difference for the Toronto Raptors. He'd played in just five of the team's first 21 games and made just one appearance since the fourth game of the season. So don't worry, they'll be fine.
At the same time, though, Dragic was, by all accounts, a good guy to have around the team. He quickly fixed his relationship with the organization after those misconstrued comments about not wanting to play for the Raptors this year and seemed to be an important veteran presence behind closed doors.
"Goran is, first of all, a really good dude," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said Sunday. "Extremely professional, very wise with all his experience internationally and all his years in the NBA. He’s an enjoyable guy to be around and to coach and all that kind of stuff."
That's where his departure from the team will have the biggest impact as he steps away to deal with a personal matter, the Raptors announced Sunday.
Now, Dragic is reportedly back home in Slovenia where he'll train until Toronto eventually makes a decision on his future.
Will they trade him ahead of the February 10 NBA deadline? That's the hope for the Raptors. Ideally, a team looking for a backup veteran point guard can rearrange some salary and maybe cough up a second-round pick for the 35-year-old. The problem, though, is his contract. He's owed $19.4 million this season and matching that salary will be difficult. It's tough to couple together at much money without giving up a player more valuable than Dragic. Dallas, for example, can't really do it without giving up Dwight Powell who, at this point, is worth more than Dragic.
The most likely option for Dragic is a buyout where he'd return about $1 million to the Raptors for a chance to hit free agency for the stretch run. This would probably materalize at some point after the trade deadline and shouldn't take too much convincing from Dragic's side.
In the meantime though, the two parties will continue circling in a holding pattern for the next two months before any sort of trade or buyout market heats up. When it does, there's no doubt Dragic will be elsewhere this year, chasing a ring and playing rotation minutes for someone else this season.