The Miami Heat are re-signing a pair of key contributors at the start of NBA free agency on Friday night. The Heat are bringing back Goran Dragic and Meyers Leonard to reprise their roles on the team.
Both players had key roles during the team’s run to the NBA Finals last season. Dragic has reportedly signed a two-year deal worth $37.4 million. Leonard is returning on a two-year deal worth reportedly $20 million.
Dragic provided value as the starting point guard in the NBA Finals. He averaged 16.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists last season. In the playoffs, Dragic upped those numbers as he shot 44% from the field and poured in over 19 points per game.
He confirmed his intention to return to the Heat through his personal Twitter account. In an article with the Associated Press via ESPN, Dragic noted that he wanted to remain with the Heat and make another run at the NBA Finals.
The Heat also stated their interest with billboards that showed their admiration for Dragic along the Miami streets.
“I was in the car with my wife and her brother and they drove me past those billboards,” Dragic said via ESPN. “I didn’t know. They told me nothing. They just said, ‘Look to the right.’ And when I saw myself, saw what they said, it really touched my heart. This is my home. I want to stay here in Miami. I appreciate Pat Riley, Andy Elisburg, the whole organization and what they did for me.’”
Leonard also returns after a good season. He averaged 6.1 points for the Heat last season. He will likely find a role in the rotation as a backup for Bam Adebayo next season.
“Sure, you know what, I do know and I do feel that I can help a team win, and that’s a contending team,” Leonard told 247Sports Illiini Inquirer reporter Jeremy Werner. “I’ve said this to people before, when you look at Meyers Leonard’s ESPN stats, for example, and you see six points, five rebounds. First of all, I don’t chase stats. Could I shoot more? Sure. Do I sometimes get in trouble for not shooting more? Yes. Could I chase down more rebounds? Yes. Guess what? I don’t give a (expletive) about numbers. I care about winning. I think that they knew that in Miami. I know that Spo and my teammates sure as hell did.”
Both players return with an opportunity to continue their development alongside NBA star Jimmy Butler. The workman-like team culture has proven it can thrive in the Eastern Conference.