NBA

Victor Oladipo Reportedly Has His Eye on an Eastern Conference Contender That Isn’t the Pacers

The NBA offseason is always an interesting one. There seems to always be a ton of rumors about certain players going to specific teams, and many of them never actually happen. Some of them do, though, so it’s always fun to speculate. One player to have many rumors go around about him recently is Victor Oladipo, the star guard for the Indiana Pacers.

Oladipo is in the last year of his four-year, $85 million contract, so he is entering a massive season. Because of this, there are many rumors about where Oladipo could go next, either in free agency or via trade. However, there is reportedly one team that Oladipo specifically has an interest in. That team is the Miami Heat.

Victor Oladipo was excellent for the Indiana Pacers before getting hurt

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The Oklahoma City Thunder traded Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to the Indiana Pacers in 2017 for Paul George. This came after Oladipo had averaged 15.9 points per game for the Thunder in 2016-17.

Oladipo then had a breakout year for the Pacers in 2017-18, as he scored 23.1 points per game that year to go with 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and a league-leading 2.4 steals. His play ended up earning him his first All-Star selection, and helped the Pacers have a lot of success as a team. They ultimately had a 48-34 record and earned the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference before eventually losing to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in seven games in the First Round.

Oladipo then continued to play well in 2018-19, as he earned another All-Star selection. However, he only played in 36 games, as he suffered a ruptured quadriceps tendon. Oladipo then went a year without playing before appearing in 19 games for the Pacers in 2019-20.

It was clear that Oladipo wasn’t at his peak form during the 2019-20 season, though, as he averaged just 14.5 points per game and shot 31.7% from 3-point range. He also only shot 39.4% from the field. His points-per-game average was the lowest since his rookie season, and his shooting numbers were the worst of his career.

He did, however, look slightly better in the playoffs but still not 100%. Oladipo ultimately averaged 17.8 points per game in the Pacers’ four playoff games on 39.3% shooting.

Now, he is entering the final season of his contract with the Pacers.

The Miami Heat are looking to improve their roster

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The Miami Heat were a surprise team in the NBA bubble. Even though the Heat were the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference, they absolutely dominated in the playoffs.

Miami ultimately swept the Pacers in the First Round. They then beat the No. 1 seeded Milwaukee Bucks in five games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals before defeating the Boston Celtics in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Of course, the LA Lakers then won in the NBA Finals, but the Heat played them tough, taking them to six games in the series.

Now, Miami wants to continue to add more pieces to their already talented roster. It appears that the team is trying to make sure that they have as much cap space available as possible for 2021 free agency — the same free-agent class that Oladipo happens to be in.

However, it has been reported that Miami wants to go “all in” on trying to get Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2021 free agency, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Maybe they can get a star sooner than that, though.

Victor Oladipo is reportedly interested in the Miami Heat

Victor Oladipo was a star for the Indiana Pacers before getting hurt. Now, he reportedly has his eyes on a team that isn't the Pacers.
Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers looks on during the first half of a game against the New York Knicks on Feb. 21, 2020. | Sarah Stier/Getty Images

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ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and others discussed hypothetical trades on his Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective podcast recently. He ultimately had this interesting comment about Oladipo.

“Oladipo has been connected to Miami for months now,” Windhorst said on the Oct. 19 episode. “My feel is that Miami has their eye on bigger fish. Because it’s a one-year deal, I guess it does open the door, but I’m not sure the interest from Miami is as strong as the interest from Oladipo.”

This is certainly interesting to hear. Given that Oladipo does reportedly have an interest in Miami, would they potentially consider trading for him if they received the right offer? As Windhorst mentioned, the commitment to Oladipo would only be for this season. That allows Miami to still have cap space to go after Antetokounmpo next offseason.

Additionally, according to Yahoo Sports, there was a rumor that Oladipo reportedly wanted out of Indiana. He, however, denied that rumor, but if there is some truth to it, why wouldn’t the Pacers want to explore opportunities to trade him? Trading him would assure that they don’t lose him for nothing in free agency, as it would, at least, allow them to get some assets out of him.

At this point, though, it’s hard to say what’s next for Oladipo. However, if they Heat were to acquire him, the move would certainly make them an even stronger contender to get back to the NBA Finals.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference; Contract numbers courtesy of Spotrac