Heat Star Among NBA’s ‘Riskiest’ Free Agents: Analyst

Pat Riley Heat

Getty Miami Heat president Pat Riley addresses the fans during Chris Bosh's jersey retirement ceremony.

Miami Heat fans aren’t the only ones who are over the moon about Victor Oladipo’s stellar play of late. The two-time NBA All-Star’s teammates have clearly taken note of his efforts, too, and not just the obvious ones on the offensive side of the court.

“He’s getting back to himself. Everybody can see he’s making plays,” said Heat center Bam Adebayo, via SI’s Fan Nation. “But on the other end, picking up 94 feet and sacrificing his body. We can’t ask for anything more than that.”

Earlier this week, Oladipo dropped another gem during Game 2 of the club’s semifinal series against the Sixers, scoring 19 points and adding six rebounds in 29 minutes of play.

In spite of that and other performances like it, though, one analyst continues to consider the baller one of this summer’s riskiest free-agent options.

B/R: An Injured Oladipo Could Impact a Team’s Situation

Victor Oladipo drops first 40 PTS, 10 REB double-double for Heat since Dwyane Wade! 👀Victor Oladipo went off for the Miami Heat dropping a season-high 40 PTS, 10 REB, 7 AST & 2 STL becoming the first Heat player with 40 points and 10 rebounds in a regular season game since Dwyane Wade in 2011. ✔️Subscribe to ESPN+ espnplus.com/youtube ✔️ Get the ESPN App: espn.com/espn/apps/espn ✔️Subscribe to ESPN on…2022-04-11T01:38:09Z

Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey just broke down the free agents who will be the riskiest plays for NBA teams this offseason, and Oladipo actually topped his five-man list.

Wrote Bailey:

In Miami’s season finale, [Oladipo] dropped 40 points on 13-of-22 shooting, grabbed 10 boards and handed out seven assists. With Jimmy Butler missing the team’s closeout game in Round 1 against the Atlanta Hawks, he went for 23 points.

Is that enough for some team to sign him to a taxpayer or room mid-level deal (just over $6 million or $5 million, respectively)?

Those are the kinds of “on the fringes” moves that teams have to nail to go from bad to good or good to great. And if you burn one of those exceptions on a player who winds up missing the bulk of the season with injuries, it can seriously impact your prospects (even if it isn’t taking up a huge chunk of the salary cap).

Bailey did describe a scenario in which Oladipo enjoys a late-career renaissance, a la Grant Hill. However, the possibility remains that “the end is near” for the 30-year-old, who has had knee/quad problems dating back to 2019.

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Joel Embiid Could Play in Game 3 Vs. Sixers

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Sixers big man and MVP finalist Joel Embiid could potentially return to the court against the Heat on Friday night.

“There’s optimism Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid will return tonight in Game 3 vs. Heat,” Charania tweeted. “He has been fitted for a mask and will need to feel comfortable before green light. One of the NBA’s great play-through-pain efforts recently.”

As of the league’s 3:30 p.m. ET injury report, Embiid was listed as doubtful to play with a facial fracture and right thumb sprain. Philly’s cornerstone has officially cleared concussion protocols.

Through six postseason contests, Embiid has averaged 26.2 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting 52% from the field and 83.1% from the line.


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