When the Houston Rockets rested a healthy Victor Oladipo for Wednesday's game, it was a foregone conclusion that the former All-Star guard was going to be dealt by the NBA's Thursday 3 p.m. ET trade deadline, and right at the buzzer he was sent to Miami. The Heat also made an offer for six-time Raptors All-Star guard Kyle Lowry, but Toronto chose to keep him in a pretty big surprise. Via the SportsLine Projection Model, Oladipo does improve the Heat's chances to repeat as conference champions and to win it all, but not by much.
Miami always made the most sense for Oladipo because it was no secret around the league that he planned to sign there this summer when he hit free agency. Oladipo was acquired by Houston from Indiana back in January for Caris LeVert in an offshoot of the James Harden trade to Brooklyn. The 28-year-old Oladipo was averaging 20.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists for Houston.
The Heat gave up not much of substance for Oladipo: Avery Bradley (been out for weeks), Kelly Olynyk and 2021 first-round draft pick swap rights. Miami hosts Portland on Thursday, but Oladipo won't debut yet.
Does Oladipo put the Heat ahead of the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks are Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference pecking order? No. Then again, the Heat might not be done. If the San Antonio Spurs and LaMarcus Aldridge proceed to buyout talks, as expected, Miami is viewed by numerous rival teams as the favorite to sign him.
At William Hill Sportsbook the Nets remain -105 favorites in the East, with the Bucks at +300, Sixers +500 and Heat +1400. Brooklyn and Milwaukee were quiet at the deadline, while Philadelphia acquired veteran guard George Hill from the Thunder. The Sixers were also in on Lowry.
The model gave the Heat a 2.9 percent chance of repeating as East champions and 0.9 percent shot at winning the NBA title before the Oladipo trade and those numbers are now 4.4 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. Aldridge would provide a similar bump.
As for other buyout options, Aldridge likely will be the second-most coveted player behind Cleveland center Andre Drummond. Reports are that Drummond will choose between the Lakers (favored) and Nets as he chases a ring. The Raptors, who traded Norman Powell to Portland for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood, will not buy out Lowry and will chase a playoff spot.
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