MIAMI — The Miami Heat suddenly went from a team with a glaring need for a quality point guard to having one of the best in the game after acquiring Goran Dragic from the Phoenix Suns at Thursday’s trade deadline.
The team also picked up his brother Zoran in the three-team deal that strengthened their backcourt and kept their core intact.
For now, Spoelstra was happy about the possibilities of having such an accomplished playmaker to pair with Dwyane Wade.
"We’ve liked Goran for a while, and we’ve tried to get him before, with the door slammed in our face quite a few times, and we understand why," he said. "But even when he was a backup, we liked his motor, his intensity, his intangibles that he brings to the game.
"His game has grown tremendously in the last couple of years where he’s really elevated to the top of the league at his position. We like that competitiveness, we like the grit, we like the two-way mentality of playing both ways on the court. When you have an opportunity to get a top-flight point guard, you take that chance right when you can."
Dragic confirmed that the Heat were one of his preferred destinations once he decided it was time to move on from the Suns and take his career to another level.
"Yeah, Miami was one of the spots," he said. "Of course, they won three championship rings and everybody wants to play for a championship team. With Coach Erik and Pat Riley, they are such good guys and they always find a way to win. That’s the most important thing for me right now, to be in a good spot in a good team and try to win as many games as possible."
Helping with that will be his brother by his side. Though Zoran Dragic has limited NBA experience, Spoelstra and the coaching staff have been keeping an eye on his progress.
"It’s interesting. We actually scouted him quite a bit this summer not thinking that it would lead to anything, really. But one of our scouts kept on saying, ‘Hey, you have to check out this Dragic brother. He’s having a fantastic summer. He’s more than on the radar. Just keep on watching and let’s keep him on our library.’
"So we’ve just had that in the back of our minds. Deals are never necessarily a package deal, and you never know how they’re going to turn out once you get into negotiations, but we’re thrilled to have both of them in our organization. They’re also different players. I think most people will assume that they’re the same player, they’re not. They bring different things to the game, and we like that. It fits our style."
There is plenty of potential with Zoran, but Goran represents a level at point guard not seen since Tim Hardaway. Though there is no assurance the impending free agent will re-sign with the Heat, he indicated he would like to play here for several years, but his focus now is on the final 29 games of this season.
"It was tough," he said about leaving the Suns. "But in the end, I’m really happy that we’re here, that we can help this team, that we can meet new players and coaching staff and try to turn a new page of our career. In Phoenix I had a great five years there. I would like to thank (owner) Robert Sarver and his family and what they did for me and my family.
"I’m always going to be grateful for what they did, and I wish him all the best, but now I’m here and I’m really excited. It was tough because you need to switch from one city to another and there will be some time to adjust but I think that’s not going to be a problem at this moment."