On Sunday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Rockets guard Victor Oladipo rejected a two-year, $45 million extension with the team. Houston acquired the two-time All-Star in the James Harden blockbuster trade in January.
Oladipo, the second pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, played the last three seasons with the Indiana Pacers. After tearing his quad in early 2019, Oladipo is playing well this season, but has not returned to All-Star form.
In 13 games with the Rockets this season, he is averaging nearly a 19/5/5 stat line, but is shooting career lows from the field and from three.
Oladipo still has a lot of upside as a player. At his best, he is a versatile scorer who can quickly attack the basket, as well as find the open man, and play stellar defense.
In rejecting Houston’s extension offer, Oladipo will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and likely leave the Rockets for a team that would be the fifth of his career. The Rockets should look to deal Oladipo prior to the March 25 trade deadline so they aren’t left empty-handed.
Teams looking to acquire Oladipo would be trading for his reasonable $21 million contract, and would have the ability to sign him in the offseason using bird rights, allowing the team to exceed the salary cap to re-sign him.
For a contender or team on the brink of contention, the 28-year-old shooting guard could be the missing piece. Here are potential trade destinations for Victor Oladipo.
Miami receives: Victor Oladipo
The Miami Heat and Victor Oladipo have long been rumored to have mutual interest. Miami, despite getting off to a slow start due to injuries and COVID absences, are now on a six-game winning-streak. Trading for Oladipo could ensure the Heat make it deep into the playoffs once again.
With Jimmy Butler and Oladipo, Miami would have two high-level two-way wings as the focal point of the team. While they would have to part ways with some depth, it might be worth it to acquire Oladipo as Miami will be a hot destination for players on the buy-out market.
Denver receives: Victor Oladipo, Sterling Brown
Since last offseason, the Nuggets have taken a step back after losing Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee, as well as having dealt Malik Beasley last season. Trading for a true third star to play alongside Nikola Jokic, having an MVP-caliber season, and Jamal Murray would elevate them in the Western Conference.
In a deal with the Rockets, the Nuggets would likely have to give up Garry Harris (or Will Barton and others) to make the money work. Michael Porter Jr. could be dealt as well, though including him could be risky if Oladipo goes elsewhere in free agency.
Trading MPJ and Harris for Oladipo would give Denver a more seasoned NBA talent, and would increase their odds of making another deep playoff run.
Philadelphia receives: Victor Oladipo, Sterling Brown
Currently the team at the top of the Eastern Conference standings, the Sixers don’t need to make a trade to be a contender. But if they decide they want to improve their chances versus Brooklyn and Milwaukee, acquiring Oladipo from the Rockets could be a smart move.
In a potential trade, Philly could part with Shake Milton, who is having a great season off the bench, along with Danny Green, Mike Scott and draft picks.
Houston gets a young asset in Milton and a potential trade piece in Green, while Philly gets a high-level perimeter scorer to play alongside Ben Simmons in the backcourt.
Boston receives: Victor Oladipo
The Boston Celtics are off to a shaky start to the season, hovering near the .500 mark. With the franchise having a $28 million Traded Player Exception from Gordon Hayward signing with the Hornets in free agency, the time to use it might be sooner than later. Oladipo may be a good target for the Celtics.
The exception allows the team to receive more salary than they send out. Oladipo fits inside the $28 million, and would leave some money leftover to perhaps acquire another piece.
Oladipo would give Boston another scoring threat as well as solid defender, both of which are big needs for the team, although the addition could make finding a closing lineup challenging. Houston would receive young prospects and several picks to aid their rebuild and make the trade work.
Featured image credited to Houston Chronicle.
Stats credited to basketball-reference.com.