Sources: Rockets moving toward trading Oladipo

The Houston Rockets are progressing on several fronts in talks to trade guard Victor Oladipo, and there’s strong confidence they’ll execute a deal ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, sources tell ESPN.

The Rockets are increasingly comfortable with the offers on Oladipo in the marketplace, which include young players and first-round pick combinations that the franchise believes are suitable returns to make a deal, sources said.

Oladipo, who can become a free agent this summer, has a longer-term interest in joining the Miami Heat, which is well-known around the league, sources said. Miami has the salary cap space to sign Oladipo as a free agent this summer, which has inspired a reluctance on the Heat’s part to make a premium offer to Houston for a trade, sources said.

Oladipo has a mutual interest in the New York Knicks too, sources said, and New York — armed also with summer cap space — has been reluctant to make an aggressive trade offer on Oladipo too, sources said.

Several teams bidding on Oladipo are without the salary cap space to sign him this summer, but could try to retain him using his Bird Rights after acquiring him in a deadline deal.

There has remained some reluctance in the marketplace on Oladipo based on his recent history of injury and missed games. He suffered a ruptured quad injury in January of 2019, but has shown flashes of his old self in performances with Indiana and Houston this season. Oladipo has averaged 21.2 points in 20 games with the Rockets, although his efficiency has been sub-optimal.

He arrived in Houston as part of a four-team trade that delivered All-NBA guard James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets. The Rockets offered Oladipo a two-year, $45 million contract — the maximum offer that they were available to make during the season under the collective bargaining agreement — but Oladipo declined it, sources said.

Houston ended a 20-game losing streak on Monday night with a victory over Toronto, and is in a mode of gathering young players and pick assets as it moves toward a rebuild.

Oladipo, 28, is in the final season of a four-year, $85 million contract.

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