The Miami Heat are expected to make some aggressive moves before the 2021 trade deadline. They may have successfully brought back most of the players who helped them reach the NBA Finals last year, but as their rivals in the Eastern Conference grow stronger, they should prioritize surrounding Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo with additional star power. One of the most realistic trade targets for Miami is veteran shooting guard Victor Oladipo of the Houston Rockets.
Trading for Oladipo comes with a huge risk. Aside from his injury history, he's also on the final year of his contract and could turn out to be just a one-year rental for Miami. However, Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report writes that going after Oladipo before the 2021 trade deadline "makes a ton of sense" for the Heat.
"The Oladipo pairing makes a ton of sense. He'd upgrade the Heat's point-of-attack defense and, if he stays healthy, share primary scoring duties with Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler. The defensive potential for that trio reaches a skyscraper's height, and that's before factoring in support stoppers like Avery Bradley and Andre Iguodala."
Oladipo would undeniably be a great acquisition for the Heat. He may have had some ups and downs in the past two years, but this season, he's already starting to show a glimpse of his old self. In 11 games he played, he's averaging 21.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.8 steals while shooting 42.6 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from beyond the arc, per Basketball-Reference.com.
Adding one of the most underrated two-way players in the league to their roster would significantly improve the Heat's performance on both ends of the floor. If Oladipo meshes well with Butler and Adebayo and manages to stay injury-free, the team would have a better chance of beating Eastern Conference powerhouse teams like the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, and the Philadelphia 76ers in a best-of-seven series.
It wouldn't be a surprise if Oladipo actually winds up with the Heat before the 2021 trade deadline. Ever since he was sent to Space City in the four-team blockbuster deal that centered on James Harden, rumors have been circulating that he's not interested in staying with the Rockets and would rather be traded to South Beach. With his expiring contract, a package that includes a young player and a future second-round pick may be enough to convince the powers-that-be in Houston to send him to Miami this season.