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Miami Heat trade for Victor Oladipo, expected to sign LaMarcus Aldridge

2021 NBA free agents: Victor Oladipo
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat landed their coveted guard before the NBA trade deadline, snagging Victor Oladipo from the Houston Rockets in a heist of the deal. With the deadline now behind them, Pat Riley might have another move up his sleeve to boost the team’s championship odds.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported the Oladipo trade, with Miami trading Kelly Olynk, Avery Bradley and a pick swap in 2022. ESPN’s Tim MacMahon provided further details on the last-second move, with Miami and Houston swapping unspecific rights to swap first-round picks in the 2022 NBA Draft.

The move comes two months after Houston acquired Oladipo in the blockbuster James Harden trade. At the time of the deal, the Rockets opted to take Oladipo instead of Caris LeVert. Fast forward to the trade deadline and that’s a decision the Rockets might live to regret for years to come.

As for the Heat, this was an easy decision. Oladipo, a two-time All-Star, hasn’t played well during his short stint in Houston. But the 28-year-old long desired to play in Miami and the change of scenery could do wonders for the former No. 2 overall pick.

Oladipo is owed $21 million this season and is set to become a free agent this summer. Thanks to this deal, Miami will retain his Bird Rights in the offseason. Given his expressed desire to play for the Heat, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the two sides eventually work out a new contract.

Adding a capable scorer, who is averaging 20.8 points and 4.7 assists is a huge boost for Miami’s lineup. But it seems another big move could be on the horizon.

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Miami Heat favored to sign LaMarcus Aldridge

Miami Heat: LaMarcus Aldridge
Feb 24, 2021; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; San Antonio Spurs center LaMarcus Aldridge (12) is defended by Oklahoma City Thunder center Al Horford (42) and guard Theo Maledon (11) on a play during the second half at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Oklahoma City won 102-99. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Times’ Marc Stein reports that multiple teams across the NBA expect Miami to sign LaMarcus Aldridge after he agrees to a contract buyout with the San Antonio Spurs.

Aldridge, a seven-time All-Star selection, last played for the Spurs on March 1. Since then, San Antonio shopped him around the league with the hope of receiving some form of compensation. Instead, rival general managers waited for the Spurs to let him walk via a buyout.

The days of Aldridge being a dominant force are long gone. He averaged just 13.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game this season, appearing in 21 contests for San Antonio. He did show more of a willingness to shoot from the outside, hitting 36% of his shots from beyond the arc and averaging 3.6 three-point attempts per game.

After reaching the NBA Finals last season, Miami’s roster looks even stronger. Riley added Nemanja Bjelica, who will provide some outside shooting off the bench, and added Oladipo to the starting five. Those two moves were already significant, but the potential signing of Aldridge firmly puts the Heat in the championship mix.