Five days after Miami was swept by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the 2020-21 NBA playoffs, Heat president Pat Riley gave his annual press conference to discuss this season and the future of the franchise.
“I have a pretty good idea of what we have and where we are headed,” Riley said, as reported by Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson. “Despite the result of the Milwaukee series, which was bad… We are ready to move forward.”
Miami’s front office has a lot of big decisions to make this summer considering only five Heat players are guaranteed to return. On June 3, Riley finally discussed one of the biggest questions the franchise is facing this offseason: What to do with Victor Oladipo?
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After playing in just four games with the Heat, Oladipo suffered a non-contact injury on April 8. Miami remained vague on whether or not the two-time All-Star would return to action before the playoffs, but announced in May that Olidapo underwent season-ending surgery on his right quadriceps tendon.
The 29-year-old guard joined the Heat on March 25, and in exchange, Miami sent Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, and a 2022 draft pick to the Houston Rockets.
Riley explained on Thursday, “When we made the trade, we knew there was a risk. He injured himself four games into this run. He’s like any other free agent on the team who sustained an injury; he will be rehabbing with us until he’s healthy enough to get out of that cast. He’s got to let it heal.”
Oladipo ruptured the quadriceps tendon in that same knee back on January 23, 2019. After undergoing surgery, Oladipo missed the rest of the 2018- 2019 NBA season and didn’t return to action until January 29, 2020. After Oldipo reinjured himself this year, it was largely assumed Miami would waive him once the season was over.
On the flip side, however, Oladipo’s free agency market value has plummeted. His chances of getting a max contract diminished with each game he remained out. Therefore, Miami may choose to keep him at a heavily discounted price while the Heat continue to restructure their roster.
“We know the position we’re in,” Riley said. “We know we have the flexibility. We can go in a lot of different directions.”
Riley Spoke About Adding a Third Big Name for Next Season
The Heat would greatly benefit by adding another All-Star to complement the team’s core that is Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. With Oladipo’s future still up in the air, and anywhere from $22 million to $28 million in cap space, Riley could make a blockbuster move to sign a top-tier free agent this summer.
“We’ll see,” Riley said. “The market will determine a lot of that as we move forward. I like the nucleus of our team. We have a great core with Jimmy [Butler] and Bam [Adebayo]; regardless of how they performed in the playoffs, we didn’t make a mistake on those guys.”
Despite not having any picks in the year’s draft, the Godfather is not worried. “I guarantee you we’ll probably get a couple of good players out of this draft, somehow.”