Victor Oladipo was traded to the Miami Heat on March 25, made his official debut with the team on April 1, and on April 8, the two-time All-Star limped off the court with an injury.
Oladipo won’t be traveling with the Heat for their upcoming four-game road trip, and there’s a good chance the 28-year-old guard will miss the rest of the season after tweaking his previously injured right knee.
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It’s great news that Oladipo’s X-rays didn’t show anything severely wrong, but his MRI results have yet to be made public. Causing even more concern, Oladipo admitted after joining the Heat that he was still struggling from rupturing the quadriceps tendon in that same knee back on January 23, 2019. After undergoing surgery, Oladipo missed the rest of the 2018- 2019 NBA season and didn’t return to action until January 29, 2020.
On April 3, Oladipo spoke about his recovery process. “One leg is stronger than the other,” he said. “So I have some hypertrophy in one leg than the other. So working my way back and finding my balance is something I’m continuing to work at.”
The Heat were fully aware Oladipo was still not 100% when they acquired him from the Rockets and decided it was best that he only played one game when the team has back-to-backs. Now, they might have to plan on finding a replacement.
Before taking an awkward fall, Oladipo was putting on a great performance on April 8. He scored 18 points, with four rebounds, two assists, three steals, and a blocked shot.
Oladipo’s Injury Will Hurt Him More than the Miami Heat
If this test drive with Oladipo has already crashed and burned, the Heat will waive him once the season is over. In the long run, this injury will hurt Oladipo more than the Heat. His chances of getting a max contract will diminish for each game he remains out, while Miami always knew they could waive him to create cap space if things didn’t work out.
Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman reported on April 10:
This was always Part B of the Victor Oladipo equation, that if for any reason, be it injury or productivity, the Heat still could circle back to utilizing cap space, instead of Victor’s Bird Rights, this summer in free agency. As it is, it is increasingly unlikely that Victor will get anything near a maximum deal this summer, in terms or annual dollars or even years, from the Heat or elsewhere. Thursday’s injury rekindled plenty of questions that never were far removed from the conversation.
While trading for Oladipo may now seem like a bust, Miami is not really any worse off after trading away Avery Bradley, who was out with an injury, or Kelly Olynyk, who becomes a free agent this summer.
Winderman wrote, “It’s not as if they gave up much in the trade with the Rockets, other than dropping down a few spots in next year’s draft (due to the pick swap that also includes the Nets’ first-round draft position). Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley were headed to free agency this summer, Bradley was not playing, and Olynyk may well have been replaced by Trevor Ariza in the starting lineup, anyway. This does not mean that Victor’s Heat future by any means is determined, just that this is why the cost of acquisition was so meager.”
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