Miami Heat’s Big Decision: Release or Re-sign Injured 2x All-Star

Victor Oladipo

Getty Victor Oladipo #7 of the Houston Rockets in action during a game against the Washington Wizards at Toyota Center on January 26, 2021.

It’s an understatement to say Victor Oladipo‘s long-awaited “test drive” with the Miami Heat did not go as planned. The two-time All-Star made his official debut with the team on April 1, and on April 8, he left the court from a non-contact injury. Whether or not he’ll return to action this season remains unknown.

While Oladipo’s injury is a huge blow for the Heat, it’s even more frustrating for the guard who becomes a free agent at the end of the season. Oladipo turns 29 years old in May and this summer was his big chance to finally get that max contract.

After reinjuring his right knee, Oladipo’s future in South Beach is in jeopardy, but straight up assuming that the Heat will release him if he can’t return to play for the remainder of the season would be a mistake.

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Oladipo’s newly reinjured knee has basically eliminated his chances of getting a massive contract offer, which means the Heat could resign him for cheap. On the other hand, because the Heat obtained his Bird Rights, possibly going over their salary cap isn’t an issue when it comes to resigning Oladipo.

South Florida Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman noted, “Because of Bird Rights, if you keep Victor, it makes it easier to deal with what might be next for Goran Dragic, Duncan Robinson, Trevor Ariza, Kendrick Nunn and perhaps even Andre Iguodala. So there is more to weigh here than just the one moment in time with Victor.”

With Oladipo Being Injury-Prone, Miami May Instead Move to Acquire Kyle Lowry

Victor Oladipo, Kyle Lowry

GettyIf Victor Oladipo (L) doesn’t resign with the Miami Heat, the franchise can release him over the summer in order to obtain Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry.

While there are benefits to keeping Oladipo, he clearly injected speed and energy into the Heat’s game during his short stint with the team, it might not make sense to keep an injury-prone guard on the roster when Miami can obtain a seasoned veteran like Kyle Lowry over the summer.

Lowry, 35, remaining in Toronto after months of reports linking him to Miami was most one of the most disappointing surprises on March 25. However, Miami still believes they can acquire the six-time All-Star over the summer.

Bleacher Report‘s Farbod Esnaashari reported on April 1:

The Raptors reportedly wanted Tyler Herro, or the Heat’s young core without Herro, but that was a gamble Miami couldn’t take without knowing Lowry’s full desire to play there. Lowry reportedly wants a two-year, $50 million contract in free agency, and a source in the Heat organization told Bleacher Report that the Heat believe they can acquire him in free agency. Another source had mentioned Lowry’s actual asking price was higher than the reported $50 million contract, and closer to $30 million a year. They did also agree that Miami had a great chance of signing Lowry in the offseason.

Oladipo Is Hoping to Stay in Miami for the Foreseeable Future

While Jimmy Butler, five-time All-Star and team leader of the Heat, was pushing hard for Lowry to join him in Miami, Esnahaarshi reported that he was open and excited to see what he and Oladipo can do together.

Butler, whose main focus is always “team first,” has expressed nothing but positivity regarding Oladipo’s potential. As for Oladipo, he’s hoping to stay in Miami for years to come.

“For me, personally, I thought I definitely could fit into the Heat culture and what they stood for, how they play, how they get after it and things of that nature,” Oladipo said, before making his debut with the team on April 1.

“So when told I was being traded there, first and foremost it’s not like I’m going to a foreign land where I don’t know anybody or a foreign experience. It’s something that I’m comfortable with.”

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