While the Heat ended their six-game losing streak with a win against the New York Knicks on Monday night, Oladipo did not play, nor did he travel with the team. Thankfully, the 28-year-old guard is not injured but he remains sidelined due to a head cold.
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It was largely expected for Oladipo to join the Heat for their next road game against the Indiana Pacers on March 31, but once again, he’s already been ruled out due to his illness. Assuming Oladipo’s head cold is quite severe, Miami perhaps didn’t want to put him on a flight where the altitude can exacerbate sinus pain.
While Heat fans patiently wait for him to join the starting lineup, Oladipo is cheering on his new team while settling down in Miami, and tweeted out support for the Heat’s “big win.”
If Oladipo’s health improves, he should be available to play during the Heat’s next tilt when Miami takes on the Golden State Warriors back at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Thursday, April 1.
Will Oladipo Fit With Heat Culture? Or Is He a Temporary Placeholder for Kyle Lowry?
One of the biggest surprises from the NBA’s trade deadline was seeing Kyle Lowry remain with the Toronto Raptors. After months of hyped-up reports linking him to Miami, Heat fans were expecting a blockbuster trade deal for the veteran Raptors star to come to fruition.
Miami drew a hard line at giving up Tyler Herro, and according to Pat Riley, Duncan Robinson was also off the table.
However, this is not the end for Lowry and the Heat. Miami will have the option to try and sign Lowry, 35, during the offseason, a move that could become the franchise’s main goal if things don’t work out with Oladipo.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported on March 29:
If it doesn’t work out with Oladipo, the Heat could pivot back to Lowry. League sources said if Lowry had been traded, his preference was the Heat because of his close friendship with Jimmy Butler. The Heat can realistically create about $26 million in space while retaining the restricted free-agent rights to Robinson and Kendrick Nunn, if the salary cap is $112 million as currently projected. That number falls short of all max contracts for next season—which range from $28 million for players coming off rookie deals to $39 million for players with 10-plus years of experience—but it could be more than enough to entice Lowry.
O’Connor described Oladipo’s current stint with Miami as a “test drive.”
Oladipo, who turns 29 in May, hasn’t fully regained his All-Star form after rupturing a quad tendon in his right knee in early 2019. But he’s shown flashes this season of the Oladipo of old, averaging 21 points on just 52 percent true shooting with five assists and five rebounds. Those are solid numbers, but it’s not quite his peak of 23 points on 58 percent true shooting in 2017-18, his breakout All-NBA season with the Pacers. Playing a less demanding role in Miami alongside the best talent he’s ever played with in his career could create easier scoring chances and boost his efficiency. At the least, Oladipo’s downhill driving and slashing should help create shots for Miami’s sputtering offense, which ranks 24th in offensive rating this season.