Miami Heat guard Victor Oladipo has switched up his representation on the eve of free agency. The 29-year-old underwent season-ending surgery on his right quadriceps tendon in May and continues to rehab with the expectation he’ll be cleared by November.
In the meantime, the two-time All-Star has fired his current agents — the Raymond Brothers of Roc Nation Sports — and hired Jeff Schwartz and Javon Phillips of Excel Sports Management. There was no immediate reason given for the change, but it sure sends signals that Oladipo wasn’t happy with the way negotiations had been going in Miami.
The Heat acquired him at last year’s trade deadline in the hope he could be a long-term answer at shooting guard. Nope. He saw action in only four games in 2021 and has missed 197 games since the 2018-19 campaign.
The Maryland native suffered a non-contact injury on April 8 after tweaking his right knee again. He limped off the court and admitted that “one leg was stronger than the other.” The lingering injury dates back to January of 2019 when he had an initial procedure on his right quadriceps tendon. Obviously, it didn’t fix the problem. Now Oladipo hits the open market with more questions than answers as he seeks out a max contract. The free-agency period opens at 6 p.m. on Aug. 2.
“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,” Heat president Pat Riley said on June 3. “We will monitor him, work with him, and then see what happens in August when we sit down to talk to him.”
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Oladipo Could Be Cleared by November
Two major surgeries in 28 months are nothing to take lightly and Oladipo might have to settle for a cheaper contract than he’s worth. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Oladipo could be cleared to return to full-contact basketball as soon as November. His orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Jonathan Glashow, provided the following update:
I repaired the quad tendon and did it a little differently than [he had] it done before. The quad wasn’t really hooked up. It was torn, and I reattached it. I was amazed he was playing with what he had. I’m very optimistic that I could clear him in six months, by November. I think he’s going to play really well again.
The NBA is slated to return to a normal 82-game schedule next season, with training camps opening in late September and the regular season set to begin on Oct. 19.
Chris Paul Ready to Hit Free Agency
Keep an eye on Chris Paul this offseason. The future Hall of Famer can opt-out of his Phoenix Suns contract if he decides the grass is greener somewhere else. Paul is due $44.2 million in base salary next season (via Spotrac) and he has no plans to retire.
“We just lost a few minutes ago, you know what I mean? Right now we’re going to process this and figure this out,” Paul said after being eliminated from the NBA Finals. “I think everything else will take care of itself. I’ll take some time to think about that.”
The Heat could certainly use an upgrade at the point guard spot, especially as the team weighs whether to exercise Goran Dragic’s $19.4 million team option. They’ll also have to make a decision on Kendrick Nunn who becomes a restricted free agent. He was a solid contributor for the Heat in 2021 but he’s going to command top dollar on the open market. Yes, they can match any offer but how much is Nunn worth to them? We’ll see.