Update on Heat Star’s Free Agency Plans Causes a Stir: Report

Victor Oladipo

Getty Victor Oladipo #4 of the Miami Heat reacts against the Boston Celtics during the first quarter in Game Seven of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals at FTX Arena on May 29, 2022.

The Miami Heat guard Victor Oladipo‘s journey with the team has been an absolute rollercoaster, and according to a new report, the 30-year-old is ready to leave South Beach.

Last season, Oladipo signed a one-year, $2.38 million contract, knowing the bulk of the year would be spent recovering from knee surgery May 2021. The veteran’s minimum was a far cry from the $21.25 million salary he earned for four consecutive seasons with the Indiana Pacers before undergoing his first knee surgery in January 2019.

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Gearing up for free agency, Oladipo has posted a workout video on Instagram every day this past week, making it clear that he’s remained diligent with his trainers over vacation.

Because the Heat own Oladipo’s Bird Rights, which means the franchise can exceed the salary cap to re-sign Oladipo, his return to Miami next season seemed inevitable, but according to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, he’s good as gone.

Fischer dropped the news on Wednesday, June 28 as a side note while discussing another Heat guard’s contract. “Early indications are Tyler Herro’s extension with Miami will settle around $25 million in average annual value,” Fischer wrote.

“Victor Oladipo is not expected to return to the Heat and is said to have interest from Washington, Denver, and Detroit, in the salary range of the taxpayer MLE.”

Fischer’s report caused major confusion for Heat Nation on Twitter. Miami Heat beat’s Brian Goins tweeted, “Taxpayer MLE is ~$6.4M. Miami has @VicOladipo’s bird rights and could easily offer more. I personally projected $10M. That’s a bad move if Miami doesn’t bring him back at that price.”

Oladipo Appears on Track to Return to His All-Star Self

After returning from an 11-month rehab late into the 2021-22 NBA season, the 6-foot-4 veteran showed flashes of his former self. He put 40 points as a starter against the Orlando Magic on April 10, and despite limited minutes during the regular season, he averaged 12.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. During the playoffs, he scored 23 points twice (against the Atlanta Hawks in Game 2 and the Boston Celtics in Game 4) averaging 10.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game.

Oladipo, put down roots in Miami last year, purchasing a $7.8 million home on Hibiscus Drive, said he took the veteran’s minimum deal last season because he still has so much to prove as a member of the Heat, a sentiment which still holds true:

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.

How Much Money Can the Heat Offer Oladipo?

Victor Oladipo

GettyVictor Oladipo #4 of the Miami Heat shoots the ball against the Boston Celtics during the third quarter in Game Four of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 23, 2022.

The big question when it comes to Oladipo’s future is whether another team is willing to take a chance on his potential, and offer him an above-market deal. ESPN analyst Bobby Marks wrote last month that “Oladipo should see offers starting at the $6.4 million tax midlevel and up to the $10.3 million full midlevel.”

Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang believes it’s possible for the Heat to offer him a two-year, $21 million contract, a deal which “could also end up being a valuable trade chip with the potential he’s perceived to hold because of what he accomplished just a few years ago,” he wrote on June 25.

“But something to keep in mind,” Chiang continued. “The Heat will be hard capped at the apron that’s expected to be at around $155 million if it uses the $10.3 million non-taxpayer midlevel exception in free agency. While the Heat can offer Oladipo up to his max number because of Bird Rights, the hard cap (if triggered) could limit what Miami is able to offer him.”

However, Fischer tweeted another bombshell report on Wednesday, reporting that the NBA may raise the salary cap, which would greatly shift how the Heat deal with free agency.

“Word starting to circle around NBA front offices of a potential increase in the 2022-23 salary cap,” Fischer tweeted. “Multiple teams have indicated the cap could raise as high as 10%, from a projected $122 million.”

In addition to Oladipo, the Heat a few major decisions to make when it comes to their free agents. Free agency negotiations can officially begin on Thursday, June 30. Free-agent signings open at noon E.T. on July 6

Associated Press reporter Tim Reynolds tweeted on Wednesday, “Heat summer/free agency guesses: Oladipo gone, Herro gets 4/110, Martin stays, Dedmon gone, Morris gone, UD returns … and despite tons of evidence to the contrary in recent days, PJ Tucker comes back.”

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