Miami sends two First Round Picks to Phoenix for the Dragic Brothers

MIAMI receives: Goran Dragic, Zoran Dragic
PHOENIX receives: Danny Granger, Norris Cole, Shawne Williams, Jordan Hamilton, Miami’s 2017 First Round Pick, Miami’s 2021 First Round Pick

I like this trade a lot for the Heat. One of the few cities on Goran’s shortlist, Miami can resign Dragic to a lengthy extension this summer. Even if he demands “max” money, that number becomes “above-average” money after next season when the TV deal kicks in. And even though Wade is getting up in age, he can resume his backseat role to keep his knees healthy for as long as possible. With a starting lineup of Dragic-Wade-Deng-Bosh-Whiteside and Birdman-Chalmers-McRoberts on the bench, the Heat have returned to actual contention in the East (though I’m still not sure this is more than a 7th seed in the West). With the love Wade and the Heat have shown for each other, it would not surprise me to see him opt-out of his $16m player option for next season and resign for slightly less to open up more flexibility for the team–even if it’s to pay just Dragic. Either way, they turned a gaping hole at PG (which is not new, but went relatively unnoticed in the LeBron era, as Chalmers duties as “smallest man on the court” didn’t translate into also being the “point guard” for their championship runs). As for the draft picks, the first pick will be conveyed two years after they convey one to the Sixers, as per the Stepien Rule (Top-10 protected in 2015 and 2016, unprotected in 2017), and the second pick will go to Phoenix in 2021, regardless. It does not appear that there are any protections on these picks. This is a very bold strategy, because the Heat could potentially owe three unprotected picks in five years. Just ask Nets fans how terrifying that could be. However, I trust the way Pat Riley runs a franchise. After this year, Bosh and Dragic will be locked in until 2019, and they could potentially keep Whiteside as well. Miami is definitely a great place for future free agents to look at: A

Phoenix is the feel-good story of the last two seasons. No one predicted the Suns to finish ninth in the West last year, and they’re fighting for a playoff berth again this year. However, they are tied with Thunder for the eighth seed, and 1.5 games above the Pelicans for ninth. In my opinion, both are better teams than the Suns and at least one almost certainly would have jumped over the Suns by the end of the season–especially with the Thunder’s deadline moves (addressed below). So Ryan McDonough made the tough call and did what he had to do: recognize that he has Bledsoe and the Morris twins to long-term, very team friendly deals, and work around them. Dragic did not want to exercise his player option and made it quite clear that Phoenix (and their three point guard lineups) was not where he wanted to play next season. So even with little-to-no leverage, McDonough swung a deal that netted him two unprotected first round picks, and a couple players that likely won’t swing the pendulum. However Danny Granger is a positive locker room contributor with a $2m player option for next season who could help mentor some of the younger Suns players: A-

**All stats/salary/research from Basketball-Reference.com, unless otherwise noted**

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