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The two players are coming back in different directions, with Oladipo hoping to put aside injuries from the past couple of years. In contrast, Westbrook is simply trying to get back to his status as an all-around superstar instead of being a trade candidate who no one wants.
Oladipo’s troubles began as a member of the Indiana Pacers when he suffered a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee during the 2018-19 season. That devastating injury kept him off the court until the following season, and he was limited to just 19 games.
During the 2020-21 campaign, Oladipo was traded by the Pacers to the Houston Rockets. The Heat later acquired him that same season, hoping to see him return to his past production.
Unfortunately, injuries once again sidetracked Oladipo, who has played in just 12 regular season games as a member of the Heat.
That injury history is undoubtedly one reason why the Heat were able to sign him to a two-year deal worth slightly more than $18 million this offseason.
Oladipo’s deal gives him a player option for the 2023-24 season. The possibility of Oladipo not picking up that option in order to sign a much more lucrative deal helps explain why he’s so motivated.
Westbrook is in much the same position, though his pay for this season remains eye-popping at $47.1 million. He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2022-23 campaign.
The Lakers and Heat will face each other twice this season, with both games coming within a week of one another. Oladipo and Westbrook are surely hoping that those matchups will present them in the best possible light.