Miami not looking to deal Goran Dragic ... yet

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The Miami Heat aren't actively trying to trade ‎point guard Goran Dragic.

We know this because if they were, it wouldn't take the Heat long to find a taker.

Around the league, though, there's a growing sense that Dragic is a name to keep tabs on for those of you (and, yes, we mean everyone) who enjoy the sport unto itself known as NBA Wheeling & Dealing, since Miami is a team rival executives are watching closely.

Perhaps it's just wishful thinking ‎on the part of clubs who'd love to pilfer a front-line floor leader, but I've heard this warning more than once this month: Don't be surprised if the Heat decide to make Dragic available if they get off to a slow start with a roster that suddenly no longer features Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh.

‎It should be noted that Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is an immense Dragic fan who A) went to the 30-year-old's native Slovenia in the summer to personally check up on him during EuroBasket qualifying, and B) has eagerly awaited the opportunity to let Dragic run the team at his preferred high-tempo pace after he so willingly deferred to Wade last season.

Yet we can also never forget that Heat czar Pat Riley, once he reaches a point when he feels drastic measures need to be taken, is never afraid to take them.

According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Spoelstra assured Dragic this week that a recent report suggesting Miami was actively discussing a deal to send him to Sacramento for Rudy Gay and Darren Collison was inaccurate.‎ Yet one suspects this one is bound to keep coming up, partly because whispers persist that Gay would love to land in Miami ... but also because it's no secret Sacramento is on the hunt for a first-rate quarterback.

(An aside on Gay: He's quoted in an advance copy of George Karl's forthcoming book "Furious George," due to be published in January by HarperCollins, as telling Karl when he met the new Sacramento coach for the first time in February 2015, "Welcome to basketball hell.")

Should Miami indeed struggle out of the gate and the whispers prove true that the Heat would be willing to engage in a more drastic rebuild, it's reasonable to assume that they'll be in the market for a first-round pick or two in a theoretical Dragic deal to replace the two they surrendered to acquire him from Phoenix at the 2015 trade deadline.

Yet for now it's important to make sure you don't skim past the word theoretical.

Sources say that the Heat naturally would have been prepared to surrender Dragic during the summer as part of a grander package to try to pry Russell Westbrook away from Oklahoma City, back when teams -- with fingers glued together -- were hopeful that the Thunder might be willing to trade Westbrook right after Kevin Durant defected to Golden State.

But as he enters Year 2 of a five-year, $86 million deal that looks like a relative steal after what the league's unprecedented salary-cap spike just did for Mike Conley, The Dragon starts the 2016-17 campaign as the closest thing to an on-court face of the franchise you'll find on South Beach.

What a difference a week makes.‎

Last Friday in this cyberspace, one of our prime items detailed how J.R. Smith and the reigning champions from Cleveland appeared no closer to a deal after a contract impasse that had spanned nearly three weeks.

On this Friday, we have the opportunity to reflect on a sudden (and profitable) turn in negotiations that enabled Smith to walk away with what ranks as the contract of his career.

Thanks to the talks that brought Smith's holdout to an end after 20 days, he's guaranteed one of two outcomes from here. ‎He'll either earn a guaranteed $45.2 million over three years if the Cavs elect to waive him shortly after Year 3, or he's guaranteed $57 million over four years if the Cavs take no action following the 2018-19 season.

Pretty heady stuff for a player whose longstanding unpredictability has limited him to right around $45 million in career earnings heading into 2016-17, according to BaskethallReference.com. Smith's annual average salary, which fell shy of the $4 million mark through his first 12 seasons, has more than tripled thanks to his contributions to the first championship in Cavs history.

As ESPN.com reported last Friday night, when the agreement was struck, interest from the Philadelphia 76ers -- who are armed with roughly $27 million in salary-cap space -- did bring some urgency to the talks. Ultimately, though, Cleveland concluded what LeBron James and coach Ty Lue had been saying all month; Smith's return was a must for the Cavs to maximize their odds of back-to-back titles, even if that meant hiking owner Dan Gilbert's payroll into the $125 million range.

The former NBA Sixth Man Award winner, for his part, made it clear that a return to the Cavs was the only outcome he was seeking in free agency. ‎Although sources say he did play golf over the summer with a notable admirer from an Eastern Conference rival -- Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge -- ‎Smith ‎has greatly endeared himself to the locals in Cleveland ‎with his appearances at Indians playoff games alongside Cavs teammates while still unsigned.

JaVale McGee snagged the Warriors' 15th and final roster spot when Golden State waived Elliot Williams, Phil Pressey and Cameron Jones earlier than they had to, but there are still some interesting roster decisions looming before Monday's 5 p.m. deadline for teams to cut their rosters to a max of 15 players. Among the most interesting battles out there: Lance Stephenson versus Alonzo Gee for spot No. 15 in New Orleans.

The Mavericks are committed to keeping Nicolas Brussino, according to team sources, after the Argentina prospect's strong play in camp. When Brussino was still on Dallas' roster as of 5 p.m. Thursday, his $543,471 rookie salary became fully guaranteed, after just $100,000 was guaranteed to that point. But there was never any danger of Brussino getting cut, sources say.

Tony Snell hasn't even been in Milwaukee for a week, but sources maintain that an extension before the Oct. 31 deadline for Class of 2013 draftees is indeed a possibility for Snell.

It's a more-than-reasonable assumption that active NBA labor talks in October, along with the inevitable uncertainty they generate, have contributed to the fact that we've seen only two extensions done for Class of 2013 draftees in advance of the Halloween deadline.

It's tricky to do new contracts when league rules are about to change.

We covered the extension landscape in detail here last week, so there's no need to rehash all that, but what we can share is a quick refresher course on what we've come to expect extension-wise in October, based on the past four seasons.