The Rockets acquired Victor Oladipo as part of the James Harden trade. It felt like the Rockets had the possibility of making a play-in run. They had the chance to grit themselves into the playoffs with a veteran-heavy team and challenge one of the higher seeds.
However, after an injury to Christian Wood, the Rockets went on a huge skid. They are currently on a ten-game losing streak and find themselves at 11-20.
Now the Rockets are left to assess what to do with Oladipo. He rejected a two-year, $45.2 million from the Rockets, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. He’s likely looking for a longer-term deal.
Oladipo is on the last year of his four-year, $85 million deal. With the trade deadline approaching, the Rockets could make him available for trade talks as there is no guarantee he will resign. The worst-case scenario would lose Oladipo for nothing as he’s still 28 and a former All-star and All-defensive team player.
This year’s buyout and trade market are sparse. The Eastern and Western conferences now have more teams than ever fighting for a playoff spot due to the play-in tournament. Oladipo is probably the highest-level asset that could be available to bolster a mediocre team to another level.
What Teams Could Use Oladipo?
The Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks feel like two teams that could use Oladipo’s jolt on both ends. Both teams also have cap space coming up this offseason from the Giannis Antetokoumpo sweepstakes before the Bucks resigned. If one of those teams could convince Oladipo to resign, he could aid their playoff hopes.
The Mavericks could use James Johnson’s salary to match Oladipo’s. From there, the Mavericks could offer a young prospect like Josh Green and maybe a future first. This deal is a bit of a lowball for Oladipo. If nothing else is enticing for the Rockets, something is better than nothing.
The Heat have Kelly Olynyk’s salary that gets them closer to Oladipo. They would need to include Moe Harkless as well, but those two by themselves aren’t intriguing. Kendrick Nunn is a young scoring guard that started for the Heat last year. They could also include some future draft capital.
These two teams aren’t ideal partners for the Rockets, but they could use Oladipo’s two-way play.