Miami Heat keeps Victor Oladipo on a one-year deal, signs Dedmon for two years

·4 min read
David Santiago/dsantiago@miamiherald.com

The Heat kept a key piece of its bench early in free agency on Thursday, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal with guard Victor Oladipo.

According to The Athletic, Oladipo will make $11 million next season, a big increase from his league minimum $2.7 million salary last season.

The Heat had his Bird Rights, giving Miami the ability to surpass the salary cap to re-sign him.

Meanwhile, Miami also signed center Dwayne Dedmon to a two-year, $9 million contract, according to a league source. The second year is not fully guaranteed. He will make $4.3 million next season.

Oladipo, 30, was an All-Star in 2018 and 2019. The Heat acquired him from Houston in March of 2021, but he has played only 12 regular-season games for Miami because of a knee injury.

Oladipo did not make his 2021-22 regular season debut until March 5, when he returned from knee surgery the previous May. He averaged 12.4 points and 3.5 assists in 12 games, falling out of the rotation at one point but closing 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 though he struggled with his shot against Boston (19 for 62), he scored 23 in Game 4 and played very good defense, including a four-steal performance in Game 3. Miami outscored Boston by 28 points when he was on the court in Games 6 and 7.

Oladipo said he is looking forward to having a healthy summer to polish his offensive game after two major knee procedures in the past three years.

“I really haven’t had a summer healthy to really work on my game,” he said. “This summer I’m looking forward to fine-tuning all the stuff I’m great at, which includes [three-pointers, pull-ups, drives to the basket] and more. Transition, half-court, all the stuff that was second nature to me.”

What’s his ideal mix offensively?

“A little bit of everything,” he said. “That’s what it has been my whole career. I can mix it up in the paint, pull-ups, threes. That’s why it’s hard to guard [me].”

Heat president Pat Riley said at the end of the season: “Vic’s story is off the charts. It was a great story. Watching him get into games, when he had 21 in Toronto and 40 in Orlando, you started to see some things he could do.

“I thought he had some great moments for us. You do need players that can break down players on their own or with their quickness and slashing can create their own shots.”

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 not have a base of weeks and months to get in rhythm and flow and test your health.

“He had some practices starting in January, February. We weren’t practicing a ton. It was mostly a bunch of work behind the scenes. The quickest way for him to find his rhythm was defensively. You saw immediately his presence defensively and how impactful he can be.

“In the playoffs, he’s getting in better rhythm in the most pressure packed moments. He hasn’t had that summer of work. Vic has a great work ethic.

“He lives in Miami and I saw it over the years. He hasn’t had a summer like this in four years. You are going to see a totally different Vic by the time he gets to training camp. He’s going into the summer able to work on his craft. He will get back to the player people are accustomed to seeing.”

As for Dedmon, he gave the Heat solid minutes at backup center, averaging 6.3 points and 5.8 rebounds in 67 games, including 15 starts.

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