More Rumors in this Storyline
The Victor Oladipo issue: It’s no secret that Oladipo has strong interest in the Heat, either via a trade or in free agency this summer. The question is whether Miami would have interest if Houston makes him available before the trade deadline. It’s unlikely the Heat would give up a key young piece for him.
The two-time All-Star recently declined a two-year, $45.2 million extension with the Rockets, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, and league executives polled by B/R have suggested that Oladipo is looking for a maximum salary over a long-term deal. That may ultimately cloud Oladipo’s market if the Rockets were to look to move him. He has long been linked to South Beach, and he spent much of his rehab from his quadriceps tendon injury in Miami. “Miami’s the one you always hear,” said another rival scout.
NBA Central: “I don’t think it’s any secret in the league Victor Oladipo has a desire to play in Miami. He’d like to go there in free agency. They’re going to have cap space, so that may happen.” – Brian Windhorst pic.twitter.com/QrATjw5hQl
Nevertheless, Oladipo, 28, has the chance to become one of the best two-way players available at the trade deadline or free agency. Miami and New York are among teams who’ve had an interest in Oladipo, and both have the salary-cap space to sign him outright in the summer.
Some around the league think Oladipo could be a candidate to sign a contract with the Miami Heat during the upcoming free-agency period. So one has to imagine that the Rockets will look to move the two-time All-Star they acquired in a four-team deal that sent James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets.
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.
Storyline Hype Rumor visits per day for the last week
Views per day
December 3, 2021 | 8:18 am EST Update
And Wall’s remaining money is significantly more than Walker’s was. For a Wall buyout to make any sense for the Rockets, Wall would likely have to give up even more than Walker did to the Thunder — and there’s next to no chance Wall could make that up in his next deal. At any rate, that hasn’t been seriously discussed by either side as a possibility. “It’s hard for him at this point in time, when your salary doesn’t equal what your production is,” a sympathetic front office person from another team said Wednesday. “That’s hard for him. It’s hard for a lot of guys.”
But executives around the league believe Wall as an unrestricted free agent would have suitors he’d never see if his current deal remains in place. One general manager volunteered the Kyrie Irving-less Nets, in a reserve role behind James Harden, or the Bucks as viable destinations. That is, if Wall were playing for the minimum. “He’s still really good,” another GM with no current need at point guard texted. “Just not at the number he currently makes.”
Execs don’t think Wall would make much sense on young squads. That obviously includes Houston, whose future is tied up in Green, the second pick in this year’s draft, and Porter Jr. But how many teams with guard needs are actually contenders? The number is less than 10, maybe less than five. But it’s not zero.
New Portland Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups questioned his team’s effort after a 114-83 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night. The Blazers were without All-Star guard Damian Lillard but still put up little fight against a Spurs team which came into the contest six games below .500. “My biggest concern, I think, at the moment, is I want us to compete harder, man. I want us to compete harder,” Billups said. “I want us to be competitive in every game. And I don’t feel like every night we do that. We don’t. And it concerns me. And I’ve felt that way in a lot of our wins. This is not just after a loss, me saying this.”
“I’m still puzzled,” Wilkins said of his snub. “I remember Shaq telling me, ‘I didn’t deserve to be on this team before you. I was only in the league for a few years. I shouldn’t have been on it.’ I thought that was big of him to say that. I look at guys I competed with, and they know what I brought to the game. The biggest thing was guys like Shaq, Dr. J (Julius Erving), Jordan, Magic (Johnson) all said that it couldn’t be a 50 greatest list without me on it. That meant more to me than someone even selecting me because my peers knew what I brought. “I talked with Clyde Drexler recently, and he said, ‘Nique, you know how pissed we were when you weren’t on there? We knew what you did. You were a one-man wrecking crew and never had a great player to play with. All of us had other players.’ To hear stuff like that from great players, what more can I ask for?”
What gets lost in that story is despite Jordan going off for 61 points, the Hawks won. In the final seconds, Wilkins drained a jumper over Jordan to give the Hawks a lead. The Bulls had a chance to tie or go ahead on the final possession, but Wilkins stopped Jordan on the other end. “Last time I saw Mike I said, ‘Do you remember that happening?’ He goes, ‘I don’t recall it happening.’ I said, ‘Bullshit. Bullshit,’” Wilkins laughed. “Mike and I are good friends. We always respected each other. We lived to compete against each other. I played against a lot of great players, but one guy bought the most out of me, and that was playing against Michael. He’s going to bring it to you, and if you’re not ready to give it back, you already lost. “It was entertainment at the highest level. You’re playing against a killer who wants to win at any cost. Mike was a killer. He wanted to take your heart, but I had the same mentality. I wanted to take the heart of whoever was guarding me.”