On July 7, the first day that NBA free agents could sign new deals, the Miami Heat announced that they agreed to a two-year, $17 million contract with former All-Star guard Victor Oladipo.
Oladipo, now a 30-year-old veteran, has been derailed by an abundant amount of injuries and has largely been a reserve coming off the bench in his time with the Heat. Whether or not that specific role continues this season remains to be seen as Miami looks to return to the Eastern Conference Finals.
But in the interim, Oladipo is committed to his goal of demonstrating he can play for a full year and do so at an elite level as one of the league’s premier guards. “So, everything will take care of itself,” he said after signing the contract last Thursday. “And that’s what I’m focused on.”
Oladipo played eight games for the Heat last season, averaging 12.4 points, 3.5 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 21 minutes while shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from the three-point range. The team was well on its way to earning home-court advantage in the East when he returned to the lineup, but he certainly helped the Heat cement the conference’s No. 1 seed.
“We are delighted to have him back in a Heat uniform,” team president Pat Riley said in a news release, adding that Oladipo demonstrated a relentless work ethic and determination as he battled his way back into the rotation.
Riley’s team is preparing assets for another run at the title after falling short in seven games to the Boston Celtics in the league semifinals. A healthy Oladipo might be that missing piece.
Another player Miami re-signed this month was forward Caleb Martin, who agreed to a three-year, $20.5 million deal. In his time with Miami, Martin, 26, has averaged 9.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and one steal across 60 games. All of those totals are career-highs for him.
The questions that remain now are what else the Heat can do during free agency, and maybe more important, how will the league’s elite teams all look when the big what-ifs — All-Stars Donovan Mitchell or Kevin Durant — find new homes?