3. An MLE contract is more than enough to sign Goran Dragic
You could make the case that Dragic deserves more than an MLE deal after the kind of season he had for the Miami Heat last season but that is doubtful. Dragic is 34 years old and he is not going to get a long-term contract valued more than an MLE deal.
A four-year MLE deal would be worth just under $42 million in total. That is great value for someone who is 34 years old and is right below what he is projected to get.
Bobby Marks of ESPN (subscription required) predicts Dragic to be valued at $12-14 million. That is probably what he would get in a 1-2 year deal but someone as old as Dragic would get more value from signing a four-year deal and getting that guaranteed backend money.
The only thing that could stifle this would be if the Miami Heat wants to really overpay him this season. The Heat are lining up the ducks to have salary cap next summer and can afford to offer Dragic well over the MLE value for just one season.
It will all come down to what Dragic values more: making more this upcoming season with no long-term guarantees or potentially making more money in the long run with that guaranteed money.
And if he prefers the latter then the MLE is probably the ceiling. I find it very hard to see a team offering a 34-year-old Dragic a four-year, $50 million contract, especially considering the salary cap situation in the league.
Multiple contenders — potentially including the Los Angeles Lakers — will instead be offering Dragic an MLE deal.