Miami Heat: It’s too early to trade Goran Dragic

Feb 2, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) brings the ball up the court during the third quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. The Rockets won 115-102. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 2, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) brings the ball up the court during the third quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. The Rockets won 115-102. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

Goran Dragic’s name has popped up in recent trade rumors, but it’s too early for the Miami Heat to pull the plug.

Last season, Goran Dragic was the Miami Heat’s saving grace. He was the silver lining among a year filled with terrible news. He was the one part of 2014-15 that does not make Heat Nation cringe.

After LeBron James announced that he had decided to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, it was pretty obvious Miami would no longer be a championship caliber team. And not just because of James. Other changes in the roster, coupled with failing to three-peat, made the Heat lose some of their confidence. Then came seemingly never ending injuries across the board.

Fans were already in despair after going from winning two championships back-to-back, to barely winning over 20 games by All-Star Weekend. But when Chris Bosh was diagnosed with blood clots in his lung? It was more than just Miami supporters who felt apart; the entire NBA community was devastated. (And unfortunately Bosh may be dealing with something similar, again…)

Fortunately, president Pat Riley was able to work some magic only he is capable of, and bring aboard Goran Dragic at the trade deadline. This in no way made up for the disastrous season the team was having so far, or of course, Bosh’s life-threating condition. But it did show Heat Nation that they should never give up on the organization. And that better days were coming.

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And they did.

The summer rolled around and not only did Dragic re-sign on a five-year, $85 million contract but Dwyane Wade stuck around, Justise Winslow was drafted and guys like Gerald Green and Amar’e Stoudemire made their way over too.

They started off the year strong, at one point coming up the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, going on four-game winning streaks and beating opponents like the Oklahoma City Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers.

But as time has gone by (and injuries have plagued key players like Hassan Whiteside), it seems as though the Heat may need to make some more moves in order to avoid ending the season on a sour note.

As of their last game before All-Star break, Miami is 29-24, putting them fifth in the East.

Up until now, the main target of Heat trade rumors has been Whiteside. Although he leads the league in blocks and comes in top five in rebounds, it is no secret he can be a bit of a loose cannon. His contract is also up this summer, and one can only assume he will be asking for quite a chunk of change. Miami could probably figure out a way to work his new contract into their already over-the-top budget (for example, by dumping salaries like Chris Andersen’s), but it will definitely take some elbow grease. And many wonder if Whiteside is really even worth it.

However lately, another name has been popping up in trade talks.

While Miami certainly lacks much depth in 3-point shooting, their backcourt is a problem, period. And it does not take a rocket scientist to know that Wade is not going anywhere. Not if Riley can help it, anyways.

The question is, is trading Dragic a good idea?

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Right now, there is a rumored three-party trade between the Heat, Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets that would move Dragic to Houston, as Al Horford and Jeff Teague would make their way to Miami, Dwight Howard would end up in Atlanta and Whiteside and Andersen would find a new home in Houston.

The catch is that the Hawks also want Winslow included in the deal, and Riley is giving that a hard no.

Teague is currently averaging 15.1 points and 5.5 assists a game. Compare this to Dragic’s 12.2 and 5.3 and it does seem like a good deal.

But should we not give Dragic and Wade more time together, to work out their kinks? After all, this is their first full year together and Dragic himself dealt with injury earlier in the season. Wade plays better with Dragic than any of the other four starters. And in comparison to other backcourt duos, they are not that far behind DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. They just need to figure out how to balance each other out by strengthening the other one’s weaknesses.

Plus, are we really willing to take on Horford, who while is strong offensively at 15.3 points per game, is a step down from Whiteside on the other end of the court?

There is another point to consider too.

Riley has made it clear time and time again that he plans to go big during the 2016 off-season. Making certain moves now, will without a doubt take him out of the running in the summer.

Do I agree that the roster is not up to snuff right now? Absolutely. And have I been blown away by Dragic yet? No. But I do trust that things may indeed change with time. And at the very least, would like to give Riley a chance to live out his free-agency dreams, this off-season.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.