In a salary cap maneuver, the Miami Heat trade injured guard Victor Oladipo and a compensation draft to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Reporting by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
With the move, the Thunder acquire Oladipo’s expiring $9.45 million contract for nothing in return. The Heat earn a matching trade exception of $9.45 million in the deal.
The exception allows the Heat to collect up to $9.45 million in salary through trade which will not count toward the salary cap or luxury tax calculation. They already have a $4.7 million exception after trading Dewayne Dedmon to the San Antonio Spurs in February. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the move leaves Miami $6.5 million under the second luxury tax apron of $182.5 million which carries significant penalties in the new collective agreement.
Miami faces roster changes after advancing to the NBA Finals, where the Heat lost in five games to the Denver Nuggets. They began Friday’s free agency with guard Gabe Vincent leaving town to join the Los Angeles Lakers. Unrestricted free agent Max Strus is also expected to leave amid reports of a potential signing and trade to ease his exit from Miami.
Oladipo tore the patellar tendon in his left leg during a playoff game in April. There is seemingly optimism he could return to basketball within six months of the injury and potentially return to the court next season, but that’s not guaranteed. It is unclear whether he will be able to play next season for Oklahoma City, where he already spent the 2016-17 season.
Oladipo’s torn patellar tendon is the latest in a string of serious injuries that have set back the two-time All-Star’s career. He ruptured his quadriceps tendon in his right knee in 2019, sidelining him for a calendar year. He injured the same tendon in 2021 when he joined the Heat and played just 33 games that season and eight the next. At 31, he will look to stage another comeback with a team where he has enjoyed success if he stays in Oklahoma City.