Goran Dragic made headlines for the wrong reasons with his comments about joining the Toronto Raptors which the team is downplaying the severity.
It’s never easy to have to walk back comments that might have been taken out of context or too seriously and that’s what Goran Dragic is dealing with right now with the Toronto Raptors.
The veteran guard was in the headlines for the wrong reason on Monday as he told a Slovenian news reporter that Toronto was not his preferred destination. This led to a storm of backlash on social media mostly from Raptors fans who didn’t take too kindly to those comments.
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This led to general manager Bobby Webster having to discuss what Dragic said on the radio and obviously took the right approach in response.
"“I’d rather get it directly from him to just understand exactly what he meant by that (but) we feel like we’re going to be competitive,” said Webster on Sportsnet 590 the Fan. “We have a core that has been around for a while and has won at the highest level as well, so I think let’s give it some time here to see how he would fit in and if he likes it here or not. He’s a pro and has been around a lot and he’s obviously entitled to want to make the most of his (remaining playing) years.”"
Did Dragic expect his comments to lead to this type of response? Of course not, and he made it clear that he did not mean any disrespect when you consider the entire context of what he was trying to convey with his thoughts.
"“I told them that I had spent seven years in Miami and that would be the preferred destination for me because my family is there and everything, not Toronto,” Dragic explained to Sportsnet’s Michael Grange. “I cannot lie, of course I was sad [to be traded]. First of all, I spent seven years in Miami and the second thing is I have two kids and family in Miami and you have to move to a different city, you basically need to start over and find a school and everything, it’s been hard.”"
For the most part, NBA players have become accustomed to having some semblance of control when it comes to where they play especially veterans who are chasing a title. In Dragic’s case, he was close to that with the Miami Heat in 2020 and now he is in Toronto who just picked fourth overall in the NBA Draft.
At the same time, Dragic understands the business side of this deal because the Raptors were trying to recoup some of the loss with Kyle Lowry’s departure. He also makes it a point to mention that Toronto has won a title and he hasn’t.
So for fans to overreact to this situation isn’t worth the headache. Imagine how some NBA players have tried to get themselves traded because they didn’t like the situation. Considering how tough it is for Toronto to recruit top-tier players in free agency, the last thing they want is for Dragic’s situation to be seen as an excuse to not view Toronto as a preferred destination.
Raptors need to ensure the right moves are made with Goran Dragic
Whether or not Dragic plays a single game for the Raptors remains to be seen.
When the package for the Lowry sign and trade was announced, many expected Dragic’s stay in Toronto to be a short one but there were no guarantees either. As Sportsnet’s Michael Grange explains, the front office is waiting for the trade market to pick up a bit so that they get the package that satisfies them the most.
It is believed that the Dallas Mavericks are the preferred destination for Dragic where he can play with fellow countrymen Luka Doncic who has been looking for help in his pursuit of an NBA title.
The Raptors are going in with the expectation that they are going to be competitive this upcoming season and that Dragic can be a benefit to this group because of the leadership he can provide. On top of that, he can still be a productive player too.
This is why Toronto isn’t just going to yield and minimize their return for Dragic or make it easier for another contending team to land him with a buyout. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the off-season plays out and where Dragic is when training camps open.
What are your thoughts on the Dragic situation? Do you think his comments were taken too literally? Let us know in the comments below.