With the March 25 deadline looming, the Houston Rockets do not have time on their side when it comes to trading two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo, which may turn out to be a huge bonus for the Miami Heat.
Rumored reports linking the 28-year-old guard to the Heat started circling back in mid-February, and Miami remains one of the top contenders to acquire Oladipo. Because the NBA star’s four-year, $85 million contract expires at the end of the season, it’s in the Rockets’ best interest to trade Oladipo before the deadline.
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Oldaipo, who’s averaging 20.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, already turned down Houston’s offer of a two-year, $45.2 million maximum contract extension, the highest amount the Rockets could offer the guard before the end of the regular season, according to ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The former second-overall draft pick is looking for a long-term contract, sources told Wojnarowski, and if the Rockets can trade him before the deadline, they will at least get something in return. If they wait until he becomes a free agent, Houston will lose him for nothing during the summer.
As for what prospective buyers like the Heat should be willing to offer to obtain Oladipo, FanSided’s Michael Saenz made a solid point. He wrote, “The Rockets can’t be too picky when it comes to their asking price… Considering he was one of the big pieces of the James Harden deal, the Rockets can’t afford to lose him for nothing… It’ll be interesting to see what their asking price is for Oladipo at the deadline and how it evolves as it grows closer and closer.”
The Houston Rockets Have Lost Their Last 16 Games & John Wall Needs Surgery
As of March 15, the Rockets are second to last in the Western Conference with an 11-26 record. With newly acquired star John Wall heading for knee surgery sometime this season, it’s likely Houston is ready to start focusing on next season.
With Wall out, Oladipo is the team’s biggest star and best trade piece. If Houston wants to go into next season with an all-new slate, it makes even more sense for the Rockets to unload him before the deadline to get some fresh talent in return.
Oladipo Already Has Roots in Miami
If Miami isn’t able to acquire Oladipo before the deadline, all hope is not lost. The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Keith Pompey reported on February 28, “Some around the league think Victor Oladipo could be a candidate to sign a contract with the Miami Heat during the upcoming free-agency period,” and that “Houston would probably want some young talent or draft picks in return for Oladipo,” for which the Heat is flush.
"Some around the league think Victor Oladipo could be a candidate to sign a contract with the Miami Heat during the upcoming free-agency period. So one has to imagine that the Rockets will look to move the two-time All-Star."
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) February 28, 2021
According to Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, the Heat is where Oladipo has wanted to be all along. The Indiana alum has roots in South Beach. He’s part-owner of a gym in Miami where he rehabbed throughout the Orlando bubble, and considered Heat legend Dwyane Wade as both a mentor and friend.