The Heat retained a significant chunk of the free agency bench on Thursday and agreed to a one-year contract with the guard Victor Oladipo†
According to The Athletic, Oladipo will earn $11 million next season, a big increase from his $2.7 million minimum wage last season.
The Heat had his Bird Rights, giving Miami the opportunity to exceed the salary cap to re-sign him.
Meanwhile, Miami also signed center Dwayne Dedmon to a $9 million two-year deal, according to a league source. The second year is not fully guaranteed.
Oladipo, 30, was an All-Star in 2018 and 2019. The Heat acquired him from Houston in March 2021, but he only played 12 regular season games for Miami due to a knee injury.
Oladipo didn’t make his 2021-22 regular season debut until March 5, when he returned from knee surgery in May last year. He averaged 12.4 points and 3.5 assists in 12 games, fell out of rotation at one point, but finished the season with a 40-point game in Orlando.
After not playing in the first three games of the playoffs, Oladipo filled in for the injured Jimmy Butler and scored 23 points in a close-out Game 5 win against Atlanta.
He had 19- and 15-point games in the second round against Philadelphia.
And while he struggled with his shot against Boston (19 for 62), he scored 23 in Game 4 and played a very good defense, including a four-steal appearance in Game 3. Miami defeated Boston by 28 points when he got on the field. was in Games 6 and 7.
Oladipo said he is looking forward to a healthy summer to brush up on his attacking game after two major knee surgeries in the past three years.
“I really haven’t had a healthy summer to really work on my game,” he said. “This summer, I’m looking forward to refining all the things I’m good at, including: [three-pointers, pull-ups, drives to the basket] and more. Transition, half-court, all the things that were second nature to me.”
What is his ideal mix offensively?
“A little bit of everything,” he said. “That’s what it’s been all my career. I can mix it in the paint, pull-ups, threes. That’s why it’s hard to monitor [me]†
Heat president Pat Riley said at the end of the season, “Vic’s story doesn’t add up. It was a great story. When you see him play in games, when he had 21 in Toronto and 40 in Orlando, you started to see what he could do.
“I thought he had great moments for us. You need players who can knock down players themselves or who can make their own shots with their speed and slashing.”
Erik Spoelstra said after the season: “Without a doubt [there’s another level for Oladipo to get to]† For him to do what he did in this playoff run is really unheard of. To have no regular season games and no base of weeks and months to get into rhythm and flow and test your health.
“He had some training that started in January, February. We weren’t practicing much. It was mainly a lot of work behind the scenes. The fastest way for him to find his rhythm was defensively. You immediately saw his presence defensively and how impactful he can be.
“In the play-offs, he gets into a better rhythm at the busiest moments. He didn’t work that summer. Vic has a great work ethic.
“He lives in Miami and I’ve seen it over the years. He hasn’t had a summer like this in four years. You will see a totally different Vic by the time he goes to training camp. He is going into the summer to work on his craft. He will return to the player people are used to seeing.”
As for Dedmon, he gave the Heat solid minutes in backup center, averaging 6.3 points and 5.8 rebounds in 67 games, including 15 starts.