When the Houston Rockets selected a package centered around Victor Oladipo in the James Harden trade, they did so likely expecting that either Oladipo would play well in the Lone Star State and that he would either be a part of their future or be tradable at this year’s deadline. Neither of those has borne out, so while Houston is reportedly eager to deal Oladipo this week in a continuation of their fire sale, the market is looking pretty weak.
Early Tuesday morning, David Aldridge, Kelly Iko and Danny Leroux of The Athletic reported that, “Oladipo’s injury history has created an uncertainty that makes the potential market for him hazy at best.”
While Oladipo declined extension offers from both Indiana and Houston in recent months, he appears ready to test the free agent market this summer and may only be amenable to a team that he would want to re-sign with. The Miami Heat have long been considered his preferred destination, but with Miami reportedly eyeing Kyle Lowry, it’s unclear whether they will come around on making him a priority for this deadline.
At the same time, he still does not appear fully recovered from the ruptured quad tendon he suffered in January 2019 that forced him out for a full year. Oladipo is shooting just 41 percent from the field this season, and the defensive intensity that was his calling card during two All-Star campaigns is seemingly sapped. That hasn’t changed Houston’s determination to trade him. Following The Athletic report, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN followed up by indicating that the Rockets were “likely” moving Oladipo this week.
ESPN Sources: Heat and Knicks – w/ summer cap space – are reluctant to offer premium packages for Victor Oladipo, but market’s developed of capped-out teams bidding w/ young player/first-round pick combos. One thing’s become clear: Houston’s likely moving Oladipo before deadline.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 23, 2021
Ahead of Thursday’s deadline, Oladipo appears to be one of the bigger names set to change teams, but what’s not clear is whether Houston will get anything of use for him or whether he will stay in that new home long-term. If the market bottoms out, teams might be more willing to take a shot on the former All-Star as a rental, but with Miami among those teams that will have cap space next year, it seems there aren’t a ton of options right now for Houston. Still, all it takes is for one team to believe he’s the answer and that they can get him back to being an All-Star to change all of that, and the Rockets have two days to find that team.