Goran Dragić backtracks on 'inappropriate comment' about his future in Toronto

MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 03: Goran Dragic #7 of the Miami Heat in action against the Washington Wizards during the third quarter at American Airlines Arena on February 03, 2021 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Goran Dragić has apologized for saying he doesn't prefer to play in Toronto. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Newly acquired guard Goran Dragić has apologized for comments he made about landing with the Toronto Raptors as part of the deal that sent Kyle Lowry to Miami.

On Monday afternoon, Dragić appeared on Slovenain TV to discuss his tenure with the Raptors and said, “Toronto is not my preferred destination. I have higher ambitions. We’ll see.”

Hours later, Dragić spoke with Sportsnet’s Michael Grange and expressed regret for how his message initially came across.

“My message basically, to all Toronto fans, is: I would like to apologize. It didn’t come out the right way. I know they love their team, and they should be proud, it is one of the best organizations in the NBA. They’ve already won a championship and I didn’t, so what I said, it was really inappropriate," Dragić said. “I love basketball, I love to play and I’m going to give 100 percent wherever I play. Right now, I’m [with] Toronto and that’s my main thing to think about.”

The 35-year-old Slovenian was brought in along with big man Precious Achiuwa in a sign-and-trade deal that sent Toronto icon Kyle Lowry to the Miami Heat. It was reported the Raptors were looking for a third party to trade Dragić to, but nothing came to fruition.

Raptors GM Bobby Webster addressed Dragic's comments while appearing on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Monday afternoon.

Raptors fans weren't as forgiving.

There were some who defended his comments, however.

Dragic is in the final year of his contract and still looking to capture his first NBA championship. With the Raptors in the midst of a rebuild, it’s not the most ideal situation for a player who may only have a few good years left to compete for a title.

Throughout his 14-year career, Dragić has been an excellent contributor to the teams he’s been a part of, especially during his seven-year run with the Heat, where he helped lead them to the NBA Finals in 2020 before coming up short in a 4-2 series loss against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Whether Dragić is with Toronto at the start of the 2021-2022 campaign or dealt somewhere else by the trade deadline, he can still provide some much-needed veteran presence and contribute either off the bench or in the starting lineup.

During the 2020-2021 season, Dragić averaged 13.4 points and 4.4 assists per game while shooting 43.2 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from beyond the arc.

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