Indiana guard Victor Oladipo: A source said Oladipo likes Indiana and would be happy staying there with a big new contract, but that if he were to leave, Miami would be No. 1 on his list. But Heat’s interest will depend entirely on how he plays next season and Miami’s success in trying to lure a bigger fish.
Indiana could trade him over the next year - rather than lose him for nothing - but it’s doubtful Miami would sacrifice major assets for Oladipo in a trade, partly because nobody knows if he will return to his former All Star form.
The chatter began with The Athletic’s Shams Charania noting the Heat’s interest in adding both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Victor Oladipo — the two players that I had identified a week earlier as Miami’s most likely targets in 2021 free agency. And now comes a Wednesday report from the Indianapolis Star that “despite rampant speculation that he could end up with the Knicks (he fired Leon Rose of CAA, then his agent who is now president of the franchise), the strongest preliminary indication is Miami” as his next team.
May 16, 2021 | 8:39 pm EDT Update
Sarah K. Spencer: Trae Young is the 2nd-youngest player in NBA history to reach 1,800 career assists, per @HawksPR (behind LeBron James). He’s the 6th-fastest (204 career games) to do so, behind: Oscar Robertson, Tim Hardaway, Kevin Johnson, Mark Jackson, Chris Paul.
Last week, Toni Kukoč had just visited the Croatian gym where he played for Jugoplastika Split as a teenager when Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf called him with some exciting news. Kukoč is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021. “Maybe it was in the script,” Kukoč said Sunday in a Zoom interview with NBC Sports Chicago from Croatia. “It was destiny.”
The fact he accepted a bench role for the Bulls’ second three-peat teams, winning the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award in 1996, when his talent would have led him to starting — and starring — on lesser teams is also noteworthy. “The first time I met Michael (Jordan) and Scottie (Pippen) was at the ‘92 Olympics in Barcelona and it wasn’t the greatest experience for me. And according to the first game, they were probably going, ‘Oh my gosh, do we really need him?’” Kukoč said, laughing. “But I ended up over the years I guess, actually right now I can say it being a Hall of Famer: I proved myself to them, I proved myself to the coaches, I proved myself to the fans of Chicago that I was worth taking a chance on.”
Toni Kukoc: “The only way to play with Michael and Scottie and Phil is they force you to practice hard to play hard, to give your max every single day just for those moments. So when those moments happen, I don’t want to say it’s expected. But in a way, it is. And you’re ready to perform.”