Miami Heat Rumors: Will the Victor Oladipo sweepstakes start early?

The Miami Heat have rumored interest in Victor Oldipo, and it’s speculated that he could be available as early as this offseason.

Jimmy Butler may have flipped another franchise on its head after the Miami Heat swept the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report wrote on Wednesday that Victor Oladipo is expected to hit the trade block after the conclusion of the 2019-2020 season:

“I bet they trade him,” one former Eastern Conference executive said, looking ahead to the upcoming offseason.”

Indiana discussed an extension with their All-Star guard prior to the season, but talks fell through with the guard still rehabbing. Oladipo suffered a ruptured quadriceps tendon in the 2018-2019 season and missed an entire year before returning to the floor for the Pacers in January.

He hasn’t been 100 percent himself, and that certainly played a part in the team’s sweeping loss in the first round. Indiana’s lead guard has one more season under contract before hitting the unrestricted free agent market ahead of the 2021-2022 campaign.

It would make sense to explore a trade if the front office thinks he won’t resign. Oladipo played all four games of the Pacers’ first-round series against the Heat and finished it with averages of 17.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.3 steals per game.

Would the Miami Heat trade for Victor Oladipo ahead of his free agency in 2021?

There’s no doubt that the Miami Heat had (and potentially have) interest in bringing Victor Oladipo to South Beach as a free agent in 2021. But now that he’s on the market prematurely, would Pat Riley and the front office be willing to give up more than cap space to acquire him?

Given their history in this area of the game, it’s certainly a situation they’ve discussed. The price point for Oladipo at this point in time may prove far less than his actual price tag in free agency.

If nothing else, the Heat could give him a one-season trial run, to see if he can sustain a healthy season. But they’re in a different place than they were at the beginning of this year.

Miami’s guard depth is among the largest of their strengths, behind the emergence of Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Rookie of the Year candidate Kendrick Nunn. All are set to be on the Heat payroll through at least next season, with the former under contract through 2023.

But so far, none of those three are All-Stars, and Oladipo was as recent as last season. If he can regain his previous level of play, it’s likely he’d prove an upgrade over anyone else on this roster.

The Heat’s willingness to trade for Oladipo may be entirely contingent upon the fate of Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in this postseason. He’s been rumored as Miami’s top target in any potential acquisition and is slated for free agency as well in 2021.

Say Milwaukee wins a championship this season, and secures a longterm commitment from Antetokounmpo vocally, or in the form of an extension.

This would force Riley and the front office’s hand, return them to the drawing board, and consider other options. That, and that alone, is likely the only way this Heat team elects to prematurely make a play for Victor Oladipo, let alone another All-Star.

It’s a good problem to have: whether or not to trade for an All-Star or playing out next season and attempting to sign one in 2021. But this Miami Heat front office has championship aspirations, that much has been made crystal clear.