The Houston Rockets Have Hit Rock Bottom With the Victor Oladipo Trade

Houston Rockets fans have almost nothing to cheer about right now. Yes, they recently snapped a 20-game losing streak. Yes, they’re in line for a high draft pick. But those aren’t really indicators of success, are they? As of Thursday afternoon, things have gotten worse. Former Masked Singer contestant Victor Oladipo, one of the few talented players left on the roster, is also headed out of town.

The Houston Rockets have just traded Victor Oladipo

Former Houston Rockets guard Victor Oladipo
Victor Oladipo of the Houston Rockets dribbles the ball up court against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California | Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

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The Victor Oladipo trade does not come as a shock to anyone on earth. In fact, the only surprise is how long it took to happen on deadline day. For weeks, rumors flew that the Houston Rockets would try to deal Victor Oladipo, among others. According to Bleacher Report, multiple NBA general managers expected Houston to pull a “fire sale” and “burn the house down”.

It took until minutes before the 3:00 p.m. trade deadline on Thursday before the Houston Rockets found a deal for Oladipo they were willing to accept. The fans may find it harder to accept the Rockets’ return, however: Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, and a 2022 first-round pick swap. Not really the foundation for a full-on rebuild.

The Miami Heat will be the third team that Oladipo will play for this season. He started the 2020-21 season as a member of the Indiana Pacers, where he had played since the 2017-18 season.

James Harden’s forced trade doomed the 2020-21 Houston Rockets

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The 2020-21 season has been nothing short of a train wreck for the Houston Rockets. The engineer who led the Rockets’ train off the rails was James Harden. For years, the team went out of its way to keep the former MVP happy, bowing to his whim when making any personnel decisions whatsoever. It still wasn’t enough.

Harden got his wish on January 14. He headed to the Nets in a blockbuster three-team deal involving Houston, Brooklyn, and Indiana. Victor Oladipo was one of the players the Rockets received in the deal. Since then, the Nets have kept winning and are one of the favorites to win this year’s Finals. The Rockets lost 20 straight games from February 6 to March 21 and were hardly competitive in any of those losses.

While Oladipo has made two trips to the NBA All-Star Game, he’s no substitute for James Harden (at least, when James Harden is actually trying). The results on the court have borne that out. Unfortunately, Victor was the best player the Rockets received from that trade. The others? Dante Exum and Rodius Kurucs.

Few All-Star caliber players remain on the Houston Rockets roster

Victor Oladipo hasn’t been quite the same player since his 2019 quad injury. However, he was third on the team in points per game, behind only Christian Wood and the departed Harden. After the Victor Oladipo trade, it will be up to Wood and John Wall to hold down the fort in Houston.

Unfortunately, thanks to the Rockets’ injury bug, the two have had trouble even sharing the court, let alone inspiring their team. Wood is still recovering from an ankle injury that put him out of action for most of the Rockets’ losing streak. Meanwhile, John Wall missed five games in March after suffering a knee injury in practice.

Whatever Wood and Wall do at this point, it still won’t be enough to drag Houston into the playoffs. The best they can hope for now is the number-one draft pick.