With their need for another All-Star caliber player that would help Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo carry the team, the Miami Heat decided to trade for Victor Oladipo before the 2021 trade deadline. The Heat agreed to send Kelly Olynyk, Avery Bradley, and the rights to swap first-round picks in 2022 to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Oladipo.
Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned for Oladipo and the Heat. After playing just four games as a member of the Heat, the veteran shooting guard suffered another injury that forced him to miss the remainder of the season.
Victor Oladipo's Future With The Heat
With the limited samples to determine whether he's a good fit with the team or not, Oladipo's future with the Heat is getting murky. The Heat haven't fully closed the door on the possibility of bringing Oladipo back, but according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, it will still depend on their potential pursuits of superstar free agents like Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry this summer.
"The chances of Oladipo returning to the Heat could come down to whether the team attempts to maximize salary-cap space to sign an outside free agent, such as Kyle Lowry or, possibly, Kawhi Leonard, or instead opts to operate above the salary cap and prioritize retaining the current roster," Winderman said, as quoted by Bleacher Report.
Prioritizing Kawhi Leonard & Kyle Lowry Over Victor Oladipo A No-Brainer For Heat
Chasing big free agents like Leonard and Lowry instead of immediately re-signing Oladipo is a no-brainer for the Heat. Even though he's still capable of regaining his All-Star form, his ability to remain healthy for an entire season would remain a major concern for the Heat. What the Heat need to accomplish as their main goal is acquiring a durable superstar who could stay with Butler and Adebayo from the start until the end of the season.
Acquiring Leonard or Lowry in 2021 free agency would allow the Heat to form the league's newest "Big Three" in the 2021-22 NBA season.
Kyle Lowry A More Realistic Target Than Kawhi Leonard
Lowry and Leonard would undeniably be intriguing acquisitions for the Heat. However, between the two veteran superstars, Lowry is a more realistic target. Unlike Leonard, who hasn't shown a strong indication that he would part ways with the Clippers this summer, Lowry's departure from the Raptors seems inevitable.
With the Raptors' plan to undergo a rebuilding process, most believe that Lowry is better off signing with a team that could give him a chance of winning his second NBA championship before he retires. With his relationship with Butler, Lowry would likely give the Heat a strong consideration when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Re-Signing Victor Oladipo Could Be At The Bottom Of Heat's Offseason Priorities
Even if the Heat fail to land Leonard and Lowry, the Heat are highly unlikely to make re-signing Oladipo their next top priority. Before thinking of giving him a new contract, the Heat are first expected to enter a negotiation regarding a new deal with Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn.
After that, the Heat could start evaluating whether Oladipo would really help them compete for the NBA title next season or not. As Winderman noted, Oladipo is set to spend the first half of the 2021-22 NBA season recovering from his injury.