In an interview with the Slovenian newspaper Vecer, Goran Dragic explained that he was offered a contract with the Mavericks, but that he decided not to take it due to the limited role in Dallas. According to Dragic, they did not offer sufficient playing time, and he’s of the opinion that he’s capable of still helping a team on the floor as well as off the floor.
Translated from Slovenian, his answer is direct: “We were in talks with Dallas. They made an offer but I decided not to take it. They wanted me to play one game and then sit for the next five. I know I can still easily play 20 minutes per game. I’m not ready to retire and just sit on the bench in a cheerleading role.”
He went on to say, “At the end of the day, they were not able to guarantee, that I will play. They told me that I would rather be on the bench, however that does not interest me, that’s why my signing there was not an option.”
This will come as a frustrating revelation to Dallas fans, many of whom have wanted Dragic in a Dallas uniform next to his long time mentee in Luka Doncic for years. The Mavericks have simply never been that interested in Dragic, for reasons that elude our understanding. It’s true that Dragic is an older player at 36, it’s worth remembering that he was often the best player on a Miami Heat team that went all the way to the NBA Finals in 2020. Those games took place less than two years ago, in September and October of 2020, so we’re not talking about a guy reliving his glory days from say, the 2016 Finals.
The belief that Dragic is too old to play a consistent role is especially peculiar considering the Mavericks decision to offer Javale McGee a three year contract. McGee is less than two years younger than Dragic. McGee was also offered a guaranteed starting role despite never being the caliber of player than Dragic remains. These decisions are difficult to reconcile when considered together.
The issue of role is maddening too. Why couldn’t the Mavericks promise 20 minutes a game? At the moment, they have two players capable of running an offense in Luka Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie, both of whom are expected to start. There are actual ball handling minutes the Mavericks need to soak up, so to many, the role was clear and the fit quite obvious.
While NBA Free Agency has been open for a mere two weeks, at this writing many of the major signings are all wrapped up. At the moment, the market is largely a set of dominos waiting for Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving to be traded to trigger the next set of moves. The hope has to be for Dallas to get involved in the fallout from those deals to continue to retool their roster. As the team stands right now, they still have needs to effectively round out the rotation.