The Miami Heat have a number of key role players entering free agency this July, and one of the more interesting ones is veteran guard Victor Oladipo, who potentially could return to the team if a robust market doesn't emerge for his services.
According to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald, "Oladipo's market is expected to be in the range of the $6.5 million taxpayer midlevel exception."
He added that a "league source said an Oladipo return to the Heat remains a possibility if his market remains in the $4 million to $6 million range, with Bird rights allowing Miami to make that signing without having to use its mid-level exception on him."
The Heat head into the new league year with five unrestricted free agents (Oladipo, Dewayne Dedmon, Udonis Haslem, Markieff Morris and P.J. Tucker) and one restricted free agent (Caleb Martin).
The Heat have full Bird rights on both Oladipo and Haslem and can go over the cap to sign them, while they have early Bird rights on Dedmon and can go over the cap to sign him on a two-year deal for up to $11 million per season, per Chiang.
To re-sign Morris, Tucker and Martin, however, the Heat will have to use an exception to retain them as an over-the-cap team.
It would appear Tucker is headed to the Philadelphia 76ers, with multiple reports linking him to a reunion with James Harden.
Barry Jackson @flasportsbuzz
Two respected journalists, Keith and <a href="https://twitter.com/TheSteinLine?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheSteinLine</a> , continue to report that Tucker is likely or very likely headed to Philadelphia, though any such agreement now would be tampering. If this materializes, finding a new 4 obviously becomes by far the Heat's No. 1 priority. <a href="https://t.co/V7pOP52DbQ">https://t.co/V7pOP52DbQ</a>
Dedmon might not be back either, with one league source describing it as "unlikely" to Chiang.
And if Martin can field offers that go above the $10.5 million mid-level exception, he'll be gone as well. That could open the door for the Heat to use their exception on Oladipo, depending on what market surfaces for him.
The 30-year-old is no longer the player who was a two-time All-Star in his prime (2018 and '19) and hasn't played more than 36 games in a season since 2018-19 (including just eight regular-season games this past season). This year he averaged 10.6 points and 3.4 rebounds in 24.5 minutes per game across 15 playoff contests (one start), shooting 36.8 percent from the field and 27.4 percent from three.
Oladipo is a bit of a ball-stopper on offense and he wasn't terribly efficient in his postseason run, but as a burst of instant offense in a reserve role, he still offers value. Wings who can score and defend come at a premium at the NBA, so it would make sense for a contender like the Heat to hold on to him if his market stays within their price range.