While speculation continues over whether or not the Miami Heat will land Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant, the franchise moved forward in locking down guard Victor Oladipo for the 2022-23 NBA season.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania first broke the news on Thursday, June 30 that two-time All-Star would remain in South Beach. “Free agent Victor Oladipoa has agreed to a one-year, $11 million deal to return to the Miami Heat,” Charania tweeted.
The latest Heat news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Heat newsletter here!
Because the Heat owns the 30-year-old’s Bird Rights, which means the franchise can exceed the salary cap to re-sign Oladipo, his return to Miami seemed inevitable. That was until Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer wrote on June 29 that he was “not expected to return” and was “receiving interest from Washington, Denver, and Detroit in the salary range of the taxpayer MLE.”
However, Fischer’s report turned out to be wrong and no one is happier about that than Oladipo. On Friday, July 1, the former No. 2 overall pick from the 2013 NBA Draft shared his first post on Instagram since news of his deal broke, and sent a strong message to Heat Nation.
“F*** Dat Run it Back!” Oladipo captioned a series of photos from last season where he appears to be absolutely loving life. He also shared the top picture from the post on his Instagram stories and wrote, “I’M BACKKKKKK.”
Oladipo’s preference to stay with the Heat always seemed pretty clear, as he had already put down roots in Miami, purchasing a $7.8 million home on Hibiscus Drive last year. At the time, Oladipo said he took the veteran’s minimum deal for the 2021-22 NBA season because he still has so much to prove as a member of the Heat:
I feel there’s unfinished business here. I feel like I came here for a reason and there’s a purpose for me being here and I’m trying to find out what that is. I believe it’s a good one. I believe we can do something very special here for years to come and I want to be a part of it.
Oladipo Cannot Be Utilized as a Trade Piece to Land Durant Without His Permission
As blockbuster free agency moves across the NBA continued on Friday, there was speculation over whether Miami could utilize Oladipo’s contract as a trade piece in obtaining Durant from the Nets.
However, Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman reported that a key detail included in Oldapo’s deal makes trading his contract way more complicated than usual.
Winderman tweeted, “Worth noting about Victor Oladipo’s $11 million deal with Heat. With a 1-year contract and Bird Rights, Oladipo has the right to veto any trade. If he agrees to a trade, he would forfeit his Bird Rights. So not as easy as tossing his money into a deal after Dec. 15 when allowed.”
Erik Spoelstra Said ‘You’ll See a Totally Different Vic Next Year’
Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra said during his final press conference on June 1, “You’re going to see a totally different Vic next year by the time he gets to training.
“Once he got healthy, immediately you saw his presence defensively, and how impactful he can be. And then offensively, as the playoffs went on, that’s how funny it is and crazy, like he’s getting in better rhythm in the most pressure-packed moments… For him to do what he did in this playoff run is really unheard of.”
Coach Spo also noted on Oladipo’s seamless fit into Heat Culture. “Vic has a great work ethic. I’ve seen him over the years. He’s lived and worked in Miami. When he was healthy, I saw him work. And his capacity to work is extremely high.
Based on Oladipo’s Instagram posts thus far this summer, he’s doing his best to make Spoelstra’s prediction a reality, spending the bulk of the offseason working out with his trainers.