With reports surfacing that the Miami Heat could take an interest in Victor Oladipo’s free agency, could Pat Riley have his eyes on the wrong Indiana Pacer?
Everyone knows the Miami Heat’s interest in adding a third All-Star to pair with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. The two biggest names they’ve been linked to are 2018-2019 MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and 2017-2018 Most Improved Player, Victor Oladipo.
The latter seems the most likely, given Antetokounmpo has very recently been quoted as saying he wants to raise his kids in the streets of Milwaukee. Still, this year has been as strange as ever for basketball and all major sports. Basketball is a business and he shouldn’t be ruled out.
Oladipo is set to hit free agency in the 2021 offseason but there are concerns with both his health and fit in Miami. Already 28 years old, he’s played just 13 games since returning from a ruptured quad tendon in January of last season. And the rust was real.
If Pat Riley and company decide he’s not the guy, then what’s next?
The answer may lie in the frontcourt on that very same Indiana Pacers roster. Myles Turner is likely on the outs in Indiana as Domantas Sabonis’ rise has made him largely expendable.
At only 24 years old, the big man is on an relatively team friendly contract at $18-million per year. Turner averaged 11.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks for Indiana this season.
Could he make for a better fit next to Adebayo then say, Meyers Leonard who’s headed for a competitive free agent market after this season? And would the Pacers accept the aforementioned big man as a trade piece in return for Turner?
A potential deal between Miami and Indiana would have to be centered around one or more of the Heat’s pending free agents. There’s six total and they can’t all return to South Beach.
Miami only needs to piece together $18 million in salary to bring back Turner. Leonard should make just short of double digits in his own free agency, and Solomon Hill is a former Pacer. Could those two next to some (slight) draft compensation make a deal work?
The Heat will likely be reluctant to offer up any future draft picks. As of now they’ve got just two first-round picks over the next five years. But Turner could be a game changer for Miami while simultaneously keeping them in play for another free agent come 2021.
If that kind of deal doesn’t sway the Pacers front office, then perhaps Miami could entice them with Rookie of the Year candidate Kendrick Nunn? His future with the Heat is largely unclear and the team is hoping to bring back Goran Dragic on a one-year deal next season.
It will be a struggle to make the numbers work in any deal for Turner, but Pat Riley is the kind of executive that almost always gets his guy.
His adept rim protection and ability to space the floor make him an ideal fit to play on this Heat team. Their defense will only improve while the offense shouldn’t miss a beat.
Turner’s accepted a lesser role in Indiana behind Sabonis’ jump to All-Star. There’s no doubt he’d be fine playing the same role on a Heat team with a higher ceiling and stronger culture.
The Miami Heat could use a longterm big man to play next to Bam Adebayo, if they’re going to continue insisting that the All-Star play power forward. If they ultimately decide to pass on Victor Oladipo’s free agency, then proposing a deal for Myles Turner should be Pat Riley’s next move.