Victor Oladipo was eyeing the Miami Heat as the potential next stop in his career nine months ago. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald stated last June that the Heat were the number one landing spot for Oladipo if he could not work out a long-term extension with the Indiana Pacers.
Luckily for Oladipo, the interest was mutual as Miami had plans to pursue him if they failed to acquire Giannis Antetokounmpo or Bradley Beal. The attraction between both parties hasn’t died down over the past nine months as Oladipo rejected an extension from Indiana earlier this season.
The extension was reportedly worth around $25 million per year. The rejected extension led Indiana to trade Oladipo to Houston for Caris LeVert and a 2023 second-round pick. The trade didn’t change Oladipo’s desire to land with the Heat as he turned down a 2-year extension from Houston worth $45.2 million in February.
According to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Oladipo’s actions have not been in vain as the team is still interested in acquiring him between now and the summer:
Victor Oladipo, acquired in the Harden deal by the Rockets and an impending free agent, is known to have a strong interest in the Heat, and there appears to be mutual interest from the Heat.
Still, it’s not as simple as considering whether to trade Tyler Herro for Oladipo straight up (plus cap filler from the Heat). With Herro on his rookie-scale contract, it means the Heat could go into the offseason with Herro and major cap space. Flip Herro now for Oladipo, and both Herro and the bulk of that cap space go away (if Oladipo is retained).
How the Miami Heat would use Victor Oladipo
Although both parties are interested in a partnership, how would they mesh on the court? Not well as head coach Erik Spoelstra would likely use him as a floor spacer. Spoelstra runs an offensive system based on dribble handoffs and pick and rolls.
The Miami Heat have led the league in dribble handoff possessions in the first 36 games averaging 9.9 per game. Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler, and Goran Dragic have accounted for 57.6 percent of the possessions averaging 5.7 per game. On the other hand, the Heat are 16th in pick and roll possessions averaging 19.6 per game. Goran Dragic and Butler are responsible for 74 percent of those possessions averaging 14.5 per game.
Miami’s system has led the other wing players on the roster to spend a significant amount of their minutes as floor spacers. For example, Tyler Herro has taken 41.7 percent of his shots from behind the arc this season, averaging 5.8 per game over his first 25 outings. Catch and shoots have accounted for half of those shots have been catch and shoots as he has averaged 2.4 per game.
Unfortunately, Oladipo should struggle in this role as he has been a below-average shooter throughout his career. Oladipo has converted 35.9 percent of his catch and shoots since the 2013-14 season on 2.9 attempts per game. 63 percent of the shots have been catch and shoots as he has a career shooting percentage of 34.8 percent from behind the arc on 4.6 attempts per game.
Spoelstra would have to make Oladipo a ball handler for him to thrive in Miami. Oladipo excels as a pick and roll ball handler as his best offensive season came when he averaged a career-high 8.6 per game in 2017-18. He shot 46 percent from the field on 6.8 attempts leading him to create 8 points per game, 34.6 percent from his scoring output.
Unfortunately, Spoelstra has been reluctant to deviate from his philosophy as he uses Andre Iguodala in the role of floor spacer. Iguodala has taken 76.2 percent of his shots from behind the arc averaging 3.3 per game. Unfortunately, Igoudala has always struggled with shooting as he has a career shooting percentage of 33.3 percent from behind the arc on 2.7 attempts per game.
In conclusion, it is best for both parties if they don’t unite, as the Miami Heat would accentuate Oladipo’s weakness.