Heat Pick Up Bjelica, Oladipo On Deadline Day, Eye Aldridge

Alex Murray
Alex Murray
NBA News
NBA 2020-21

The Miami Heat were taking no prisoners during the NBA’s trade deadline day on Thursday.

First, Miami shipped Moe Harkless and Chris Silva to the Sacramento Kings for talented big man Nemanja Bjelica. They then followed that up with a deal in which they sent Kelly Olynyk, Avery Bradley, and a 2022 first-round pick swap to the Houston Rockets in exchange for guard Victor Oladipo.

Power forward LaMarcus Aldridge has completed a $5.8 million buyout to part ways with the San Antonio Spurs, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, and the Heat are now the frontrunners to land the veteran as well, according to Woj.

The addition of this trio of players should not be taken lightly, with all three still capable of contributing significantly, especially Oladipo. Miami is still not a favorite to take the East, but these moves make their +1,200 NBA odds to win the Eastern Conference a lot more attractive.

Oladipo, the most important acquisition for Miami on deadline day by far, will add some serious defensive pedigree, and hopefully for the Heat, he can rediscover his scoring stroke in his new setting on South Beach. The Silver Spring, Maryland native is in the final year of a four-year, $85 million deal, after which he will become an unrestricted free agent.

The 28-year-old was the centerpiece of the multi-team deal that pried James Harden away from the Houston Rockets and sent him to Brooklyn back in January. Oladipo was offered a max two-year extension by the Rockets, but turned it down, sources say.

Not wanting to lose Oladipo for nothing, they ended up shipping him out for a pair of players who are mere rotational pieces. So basically nothing. It’s wild to think that all the Rockets ended up getting for the Beard was 20 games of Dip, Olynyk, Bradley, and Dante Exum. They did get nine first-round picks/pick swaps, which is amazing, but that player haul is ugly.

Despite subpar efficiency, Oladipo still averaged 20.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.7 dimes per game with Houston this season. He has amassed two All-Star selections, one All-NBA Defensive Team nod, and a Most Improved Player award during his eight-year NBA career.

Picking up Bjelica was no coup, but it was no small thing either. Bjelica is nearly seven feet but can shoot the lights out of the gym, with a 47/39/77 career shooting line. The 32-year-old has put up 7.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in just 16.9 minutes per game this season.

The Serbian has had shooting struggles during this campaign, but coming off the bench for a team in the thick of the playoff race should boost his game significantly. He shot over 40 percent from deep last season and head coach Erik Spoelstra has already praised the big man’s ability to space the floor and hit shots from outside.

While he hasn’t joined the team yet and will likely entertain several other suitors, Aldridge’s addition to this lineup along with Bjelica will turn a weakness—offensive production from big men other than Bam Adebayo—into a strength.

Aldridge leaves the Spurs after five seasons and enters free agency as a talented 35-year-old that still has a lot to offer on the offensive end in short spurts. The Dallas native amassed seven All-Star selections and four All-NBA Team selections during the prime of his career with the Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers.

Meanwhile, the Kings pick up Harkless, an elite wing defender who never really got a shot with the Heat after the team picked him up this past offseason. He played in just 11 games for Miami and will surely be hoping for a more meaningful role with his new team in Northern California.

Silva, the other player acquired by Sacramento, is a power forward who has averaged under eight minutes per game in each of his first two campaigns with Miami.

The Rockets, for their part, added veteran presence in Olynyk and Bradley, but make no mistake, the star of this deal for Houston is yet another first-round pick swap.

After spending most of his first seven seasons in the NBA coming off the bench, Olynyk had started 38 games for the Heat this season, a career-high. The Canadian national was averaging 10.0 points and 6.1 rebounds (career-high) across 43 total games with Miami this year.

Bradley will be playing for his seventh different team since he was first traded from the Boston Celtics in 2017. Known as a premier backcourt defensive stopper who can get hot from deep from time to time, Bradley never caught on with the Heat after signing to the squad this past offseason, appearing in just 10 games.

The 11-year NBA veteran earned an NBA Championship ring as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers last year despite opting out of the NBA’s restart in the bubble. The 30-year-old has averaged 11.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.0 steals per game over his career.

Alex is an alumnus of Ryerson University's RTA Sport Media program, a contributing NHL, NBA, and MLB writer in the BetPicks.ca team. He has been writing on sports, betting, and fantasy contests for several years, including pitstops as an NFL Editor for theScore and as one of the lead NBA news writers for fantasy sports site FantasyPros. As a lifelong athlete, bettor, and sports fan, Alex is uniquely qualified to help you reach the sports betting success that you've always dreamed of and your wife never believed you could achieve.