Houston Rockets: Why they shouldn’t extend Victor Oladipo
It’s no secret that the Houston Rockets have their eyes on the future. Their trade of James Harden was headlined by a package of draft picks that likely won’t have much value until 2024 at the earliest.
The franchise does have one young cornerstone player to build around in Christian Wood but at 25-years-old he can be counted on to be productive for the long haul. In reality, the Rockets are looking to build the best team possible for the 2025 season and not 2021.
Oladipo doesn’t currently fit the Rockets’ timeline of contention and signing him to an extension will further muddle their ability to add players. Due to NBA rules, Oladipo is not eligible for a supermax contract but he’ll likely command well over $20 million a season.
If Oladipo walks after the season then the Rockets will have $87.2 million in salary commitments for eight players. Adding Oladipo and his salary would push the Rockets well above $100 million and they’ll still have to fill close to six roster spots to fill.
The NBA salary cap is tied to revenue and with two seasons affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is likely that the salary cap will shrink for the 2021-22 season. The only way the Rockets think extending Oladipo makes sense is if the contract has an early opt-out and they intend on making a playoff run next season.
Is Oladipo still a good player? Yes, but is he good enough to make your franchise a contender all on his own? Not from what he has shown since he suffered a devastating quad tendon injury.
At the end of the day, extending Oladipo makes the Rockets better but not good enough to warrant the inhibiting factors it would cause. The Rockets want to be financially flexible to add assets through cap-space, either in free agency or trade, and an Oladipo extension would make that a difficult proposition.
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