On Wednesday, the Houston Rockets pulled the trigger on a long-rumored move by trading James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in a four-way deal that also involved the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers. However, a new report suggests that the Rockets might be making a few more moves, including one involving Victor Oladipo, who arrived in Houston via the Harden trade.
According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, there’s a possibility that the Rockets may “flip” Oladipo to another team ahead of the March 25 trade deadline, given how he supposedly ended up in “another place he doesn’t want to be.” He added that per unnamed league sources, the 28-year-old guard specifically “hopes to find himself” with the Miami Heat.
In addition to the potential Oladipo move, the Rockets might also decide to part ways with veteran power forward P.J. Tucker. Citing a subscriber-only article from Kelly Iko of The Athletic, O’Connor wrote that there are “multiple teams” who have inquired about the 35-year-old, though sources believe he may only fetch a return of three future second-round picks, given how his advanced age has affected his value.
Although O’Connor opined that Oladipo has yet to return to his All-Star form, he put up good numbers for the Pacers in the nine games he has played this season. According to Basketball-Reference, he is currently averaging 20 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.7 steals per game and shooting 42.1 percent from the field. These numbers represent a substantial improvement over those he recorded in the 2019-20 season, where he averaged 14.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 0.9 steals and shot at a 39.4 percent clip.
In the event Oladipo gets traded to the Heat as speculated, there’s a chance he may end up as a half-season rental. The former No. 2 overall pick is on the final season of a four-year contract extension he signed in October 2016, thus making him one of two recent Rockets additions — the other being backup center DeMarcus Cousins — on expiring deals.
“The Rockets, meanwhile, have already had enough of players not wanting to play in Houston,” ClutchPoints wrote, warning about the possibility that Oladipo won’t play up to expectations if he remains with his new team.
“They would likely want to avoid another similar James Harden situation, where he simply played through the motions in his final games with the franchise.”
While it remains unclear what Oladipo’s asking price might be if he gets shipped to Miami, he was the centerpiece of a trade idea proposed in November, where it was suggested the Heat could acquire him for youngsters Kendrick Nunn and KZ Okpala and veteran wingman Andre Iguodala.