The Miami Heat kept the momentum going on Day 3 of free agency. After locking down 11 players for the 2021-22 NBA season, the team finally made a decision on what to do with two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania was the first to report the news on Wednesday. “Free agent Victor Oladipo has agreed to a deal to return to the Miami Heat,” Charania tweeted.
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The 29-year-old guard joined the Heat on March 25, and in exchange, Miami sent Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, and a 2022 draft pick to the Houston Rockets. Oladipo made it clear that he wanted to stay with the Heat for the long term following the trade. He put down some very expensive roots in Miami, purchasing a $7.8 million home on Hibiscus Drive, as reported by The Real Deal.
While Oladipo’s play has been limited due to ongoing injuries over the past three seasons, he’s a force to be reckoned with when healthy. His career averages are 17.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game.
Oladipo Underwent Season-Ending Surgery in May
After just four games with the Heat, Oladipo suffered a non-contact injury on April 8 and never returned to action. He underwent season-ending surgery on his reinjured knee in May and isn’t expected to be able to back to full health until November.
Even though Miami obtained his Bird Rights when he was traded from the Houston Rockets, Heat President Pat Riley didn’t exactly give Oladipo a vote of confidence that’s he’d remain in South Beach during his annual postseason press conference.
“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,” 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.”
If Oladipo is able to return to full health, or even just a strong semblance of his All-Star self, he could turn out to be the formidable offensive weapon the Heat were looking for when they first signed him.
Oladipo was Expected to Go Unsigned Until He Could Return to Action
Oladipo made the splashy move of switching agents just before free agency started, signing with Jeff Schwartz and Javon Phillipos of Excel Sports Management, which led many to believe he would continue to make an effort to get the max extension he wanted before getting injured.
However, Sports Illustrated‘s Chris Mannix reported that there was a good chance the extremely injury-prone guard remained unsigned even when the 2021-22 NBA season starts:
“Is there a market for Victor Oladipo? Surgery to repair a torn quad in May will keep him out for the start of the season, and teams have become increasingly wary about his long-term health. Several execs say it’s possible Oladipo, 29, could go unsigned for the next few months, until he can show he is ready to play.”