The Miami Heat is one of many NBA teams preserving salary cap space to chase reigning MVP and Milwaukee Bucks power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo in the summer of 2021. However, though they are expected to have the money to offer him a max contract, there’s no guarantee that the Heat can acquire Antetokounmpo since almost all the teams want to get him in the 2021 NBA free agency. Luckily, even if Antetokounmpo re-signs with the Bucks or takes his talent somewhere else, the Heat will still have plenty of options on the free agency market, including Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers.
In his recent article, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald puts Oladipo on his list of the Heat’s potential “non-Giannis options” in free agency. Assuming that LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George stay with their respective Los Angeles teams, Jackson believes that Oladipo should be the Heat’s Plan B if they fail to sign Antetokounmpo in the summer of 2021.
“Oladipo returned to the court in January after missing more than a calendar year with a ruptured quadriceps tendon and was predictably rusty, averaging 13.8 points and shooting 39.1 percent from the field and 30.4 percent on threes. But he averaged 23.1 points in 78 games in 2017-18 and 18.8 in 36 games in 2018-19. I would put him No. 1 on the most likely list if Miami doesn’t get Antetokounmpo, and if he returns to his old form — two big ifs.”
Since recovering from an injury, Oladipo is yet to regain his All-Star form. However, once he brings back his old self, the Heat would have the opportunity to pair Jimmy Butler with one of the most hardworking players in the league who is also hungry to win an NBA championship title. Oladipo may not be showing any indication that he’s not happy in Indiana, but he would undeniably be intrigued by the idea of playing for a legitimate title contender like the Heat.
Oladipo may already be an All-Star, but he wouldn’t mind playing as a second or third fiddle alongside Butler and Bam Adebayo in Miami. Oladipo would give the Heat a very reliable scoring option and a great perimeter defender. His arrival in Miami would further boost the Heat’s offensive and defensive efficiency that currently rank No. 7 and No. 12 in the league, respectively. Though he’s not as good as Antetokounmpo, adding Oladipo to their roster would boost the Heat’s chances of fully dominating the Eastern Conference and winning an NBA championship title.
Aside from Oladipo, other players on Jackson’s list of “non-Giannis options” for the Heat in the 2021 NBA free agency include Jrue Holiday of the New Orleans Pelicans, Gordon Hayward of the Boston Celtics, and Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets.