MIAMI (AP) — Goran Dragic wanted a new home, and the Miami Heat wanted a new guard.
On trade deadline day, they were a perfect match.
The Heat swung a deal to acquire Dragic — a third-team All-NBA player last season — from the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, a person with knowledge of the trade told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the NBA’s standard trade call had not yet taken place to make the deal official.
The person said Miami sent Norris Cole, Shawne Williams, Danny Granger and Justin Hamilton to the Suns, who were busy moving at least some of those players to New Orleans before the 3 p.m. trade deadline arrived.
“I did feel it was time to find a better fit,” Dragic wrote on Twitter, adding “NOW it’s #heatnation time and I’m excited to bring the Dragon’s fire to Miami!!”
Cole, who was on Miami’s 2012 and 2013 NBA title teams and went to the NBA Finals in each of his first three pro seasons, announced on Twitter that he was heading to the Pelicans.
“Thank you @MiamiHEAT HeatNation for the opportunity! Many Great memories! 2 Championships in 3yrs!” wrote Cole, who began this season as Miami’s starter at the point.
Cole won’t have to pack in a hurry: New Orleans visits Miami on Saturday.
Zoran Dragic, Goran’s brother, was also coming to Miami from Phoenix, the person said, adding that the Heat were also including two first-round draft picks — one from 2017 and the other from 2021 to close the deal.
Goran Dragic made it clear that he wanted out of Phoenix and its log-jammed point-guard situation in recent days. He’s averaging 16.2 points and 4.1 assists this season, down from 20.3 points and 5.9 assists a year ago.
And with him set to be a free agent this summer, the Suns knew they had to either acquire something for him now or watch him walk away in July for nothing.
Hence, Miami saw its opportunity.
Cole will be a free agent this summer and wasn’t expected to stay in Miami. Williams and Granger were both in their first year with the Heat — with neither playing regular minutes of late — and Hamilton had become more expendable in recent weeks after the emergence of Hassan Whiteside in the center spot.
Miami starts its post-All-Star-break schedule in New York on Friday. The Heat are hanging on to the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference, part of a six-team group all bunched within two games for the final two spots on the current playoff bracket from that side of the league.
NOTES: Miami will be without All-Star center Chris Bosh on Friday. He did not accompany the team on its flight to New York because of illness. … Goran Dragic has played against the Heat 12 times. His teams went 1-11 in those games.