Dragic says goodbye and Achiuwa expresses gratitude after Heat’s sign-and-trade for Lowry

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The Miami Heat landed six-time All-Star Kyle Lowry in free agency, but it came at the expense of one of the best point guards in franchise history.

Just minutes after free-agent negotiations were allowed to begin at 6 p.m. on Monday, the Heat struck a deal to bring Lowry to Miami through a sign-and-trade transaction with the Toronto Raptors.

The machinations of the sign-and-trade deal are still being worked out, but Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa both confirmed they are part of the package the Heat is sending out to acquire Lowry.

Dragic posted a message Tuesday afternoon on his social media accounts thanking Heat fans: “Miami!!! Thank you for all of the LOVE, KINDNESS and SUPPORT over these last seven years. You embraced me and my family like your own from Day 1 and we are forever grateful for the life we’ve built, friends we’ve made and experiences we’ve shared as a part of the#305. We will never forget you #HeatNation and will see you all soon.”

Achiuwa expressed gratitude for his one season with the Heat during an interview with ESPN: “I think it was a great place that I got drafted by. Not just that I was able to play, I was able to learn a lot, to learn accountability from the first day. They told me from the first day that this opportunity requires accountability. I had to be accountable for what I did out there and I was able to show what I could do that while also learning how to play the NBA game. And I had great vets with me on the team. Guys like Andre Iguodala who also has Nigerian descent, and a lot of others that I listened to all year and I was able to pick up a lot of things and learn and add to my game.”

Dragic, 35, just finished his 13th NBA season. His time with the organization comes to an end after spending the past six-plus seasons in Miami.

Dragic averaged 16.2 points while shooting 45.7 percent from the field and 36.5 percent on threes, and 5.2 assists in 391 regular-season games (282 starts) with the team.

Dragic averaged 13.4 points while shooting 43.2 percent from the field and 37.3 percent on threes, 3.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 50 regular-season games (11 starts) last season. He was one of the Heat’s key players who was in and out of the lineup for a chunk of games mainly because of injuries, as he averaged the lowest amount of points and minutes (26.7) since he was traded to the Heat in February 2015.

As for Achiuwa, he was drafted by the Heat with the 20th overall pick in 2020. In his only season with Miami, he averaged five points on 54.4 percent shooting, 3.4 rebounds and 0.5 blocks in 61 regular-season games (four starts) as a rookie.

Achiuwa, 21, spent the first three months of the season as the Heat’s backup center behind starter Bam Adebayo, but he fell out of the rotation after the team signed center Dewayne Dedmon in early April. Before the trade, Achiuwa was expected to join the Heat’s summer league roster in the coming days after representing Nigeria in the Olympics this summer.

Entering Day 2 of free agency on Tuesday, the Heat’s roster for next season includes 10 players: Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Lowry, Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, KZ Okpala, P.J. Tucker, Dedmon, Max Strus and Gabe Vincent.

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