At the end of his postgame press conference following the Miami Heat’s dominant Game 4 victory over the Atlanta Hawks, Victor Oladipo sarcastically said that, “Jimmy hates me, guys” before he and Jimmy Butler embraced.
Sources, and on-court video proof below, have confirmed this. pic.twitter.com/r8GH0uS8iW— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) April 25, 2022
On the April 20 episode of Undisputed, Skip Bayless said that Oladipo wasn’t in the playoff rotation because Butler has a “personal issue” with him. The talking head also said that Butler told Heat coach Erik Spoelstra that he wasn’t going to share the court with him.
Skip Bayless says that Victor Oladipo isn’t in the Miami Heat playoff rotation because Jimmy Butler has a “personal issue” with him. pic.twitter.com/dOwrrJkpzL— Alex Golden (@AlexGoldenNBA) April 23, 2022
Of course, we all know what happened last night. Oladipo checked into Game 4 in the second quarter — with Butler already on the floor — and the Heat went on a decisive run.
Spoelstra didn’t take Oladipo out of the rotation because of a “personal issue” with Butler. As I pointed out before, the Heat tried to bring the two-time All-Star (and Markieff Morris) onboard more than 65 games deep in the regular season. Those late rotation changes coincided with a shaky stretch of the regular season in which the Heat’s position as the No. 1 seed seemed to be in peril.
Then, Spoelstra made a few changes. He swapped Max Strus in for Duncan Robinson in the starting lineup and put Jimmy Butler as the backup power forward to give him more room to operate. That left both Morris and Caleb Martin out of the rotation. And Spoelstra decided to use Gabe Vincent as the backup point guard. Kyle Lowry’s injury provided an opening for Oladipo.
If Butler and Oladipo had a personal issue, it’s hard to see the Heat trading for Oladipo at the 2021 trade deadline.
Stars play heavier minutes in the playoffs. That, coupled with the Heat’s depth, give Spoelstra options. Beyond Vincent, Tyler Herro and Dewayne Dedmon, Spoelstra has gone with different players off the bench. Duncan Robinson made eight 3s in Game 1. When Bam Adebayo and Dedmon were both in foul trouble in Game 2, Caleb Martin and P.J. Tucker were technically the four and five, respectively.
And with Lowry out yesterday, Vincent took the starting role. Oladipo filled in. The fluid rotation isn’t based on petty beefs, but who can help the team in any particular moment.