Jacari McRae | May 7th, 2020
“I want to build another championship team, and we’re close,” Pat Riley said in a video released by the Miami Heat last Wednesday. “Maybe we need another player, maybe we need less, I don’t know. The point is that we’re right there, and we’re a contender. And I’m proud of it.”
The Main Thing continues to be The Main Thing
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) April 29, 2020
What Riley meant was the Heat have taken a huge step towards reaching contending status. Thanks to the addition of Jimmy Butler, and the improvement of Bam Adebayo, the Heat(41-24) are fourth place in the Eastern Conference. With the drive to win another NBA title, Riley will likely take another swing at a star.
One player to keep an eye on is Indiana Pacers star guard Victor Oladipo, a player the Heat could target in the 2021 free agency. According to SNY’s Ian Begley, the Pacers and Oladipo held brief contract extension talks before the season began, with Indiana offering the shooting guard a four-year, $80 million deal. Unsurprisingly, the talks haven’t progressed from there. Oladipo is already on the third year of his four-year, $84 million deal.
Begley also adds that teams are closely monitoring the situation. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Heat is one of those teams. When healthy, Oladipo has proven to be one of the premier shooting guards in the league. In 2018, he averaged 23 points, five rebounds, and four assists on 48 percent shooting from the field and 37 percent shooting from three-point range. He also pushed the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in the 2018 postseason.
The question is if Oladipo can return to All-star form. Oladipo missed the first 47 games of the NBA season while working his way back from a leg injury. He later returned this past January and played in 13 of the Pacers’ last 18 games. And just when Oladipo started to shake off the rust, the 2019-2020 season was suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak. His last performance of the season—-a season-best 27 points against the Boston Celtics—- was his best performance of the season.
It’s still too early to say whether the Pacers would move Oladipo or not. With the season still canceled, the Pacers haven’t had an opportunity to make a playoff run with their team. But with Oladipo’s impending free agency, there’s going to be questions about his future with the team. And if Pacers decide to move him, teams like the Heat will be ready. We’ll see how the situation plays out as the months go by.
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