Despite losing three of their last four games, the Boston Celtics have seen an overall uptick in success over the past month, racking up a 9-4 record in April — tied for third-best in the East. Still, games such as Sunday’s beatdown at the hands of the Charlotte Hornets prove that Boston most likely needs another piece or two to truly elevate themselves into the surefire title contenders that so many pegged them to be entering the year.
There was hope that piece would come via this past trade deadline. Yes, Danny Ainge did pull the trigger on a move for a valuable wing in Evan Fournier. However, Fournier’s upside pales in comparison to that of some of the other upper-echelon talents the Cs were readily linked to leading up to March 25th. One of those players commonly floated as a fit in Beantown was Victor Oladipo, who was ultimately dealt to the Miami Heat.
Thus far the move to South Beach has not gone the way many expected for the two-time All-Star. Oladipo suffered an injury earlier this month and has been a mysterious absence from the Heat lineup of late. Kendrick Nunn has stepped up admirably in his place and by most accounts looks likely to retain the starting gig even if Oladipo were to return for a playoff run.
With the 28-year-old set to hit the open market this offseason and looking less and less likely to serve as a mainstay in the Heat’s long-term plans, Bleacher Report’s Mandela Namaste believes the Celtics will be the team to take a swing on the reclamation project this summer.
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Celtics Predicted to Sign Oladipo This Offseason
Once viewed as one of the better two-way players in the NBA, injuries have led to Oladipo’s star falling — which Namaste believes work in Boston’s favor.
“Just because Oladipo is not worth a max contract right now doesn’t mean he’s done in the NBA. Surely, some team will talk itself into taking a chance on the two-time All Star, and one of those interested clubs might be the Boston Celtics,” he wrote.
“Despite rostering Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart, Boston’s lack of depth has been one of its biggest flaws this year,” he continued. “The team has won seven of its last 10 games but is still just 32-29, tied for sixth in the East, and doesn’t have many pathways to significant improvement, given that (presumably) Tatum, Brown and Walker will all be on max or near-max contracts by the end of the summer.”
Oladipo Expected to Come Cheap
Part of a four-team trade in January that handed the Brooklyn Nets the services of James Harden, the Houston Rockets offered Oladipo a two-year, $45 million contract, per ESPN. The deal was “the maximum offer that they were available to make during the season under the collective bargaining agreement,” but Oladipo chose to decline it, eventually leading to his trade to the Heat. Fast forward three-odd months and coming across that type of money seems like a pipedream for Oladipo this summer.
While his stock has clearly taken a hit, Oladipo is still a player averaging 19.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.4 steals per game this season — not bad for a down year. With the veteran wing looking to rebuild his reputation and the Celtics low on spending money, a marriage between both sides could prove to be the ideal match.
“Buying low on Oladipo, putting him in Brad Stevens’ system and helping him play to his strengths might be just the low-risk, high-reward gamble the Celtics need to recharge their hopes of future contention,” Namaste added.