Victor Oladipo has been a popular name among NBA trade discussion circles this offseason. The former All-Star missed half of the 2018 season and most of last season after suffering a brutal leg injury, but found his way back on the court for bubble play in Orlando. He is also eligible for a contract extension this year, but so far there have been no reports suggesting the Pacers are in any hurry to get that done.
Basketball-wise, it's a smart move to wait and see. Oladipo's ruptured quad is not the easiest injury to come back from, and Oladipo would probably want to be paid as the star he looked like he was before the injury, rather than the average starter he was in the limited court time he saw afterwards. It seems, however, that the holdup could be Oladipo's desire to play elsewhere. Like, anywhere else. Per J. Michael of the Indy Star:
"It happened vs. the Toronto Raptors. It happened vs. the Miami Heat. It happened vs. the New York Knicks. "Can I come play with y'all?" Or some iteration of that puzzling statement. That's what Victor Oladipo said -- in front of Indiana Pacers teammates -- increasing the agitation with the star guard in the locker room, three league sources with direct knowledge of the situation told IndyStar"
This is eerily reminiscent of when Jarvis Landry was reportedly yelling at other NFL teams 'come get me' during pregame warmups at times last year. Seeing as Landry is still a member of the Cleveland Browns, nothing came out of it, and it very well might be that nothing comes out of this, either.
But man... The Knicks? Kevin Durant said it best last year when he merely stated "The Knicks aren't cool anymore" and that players of this generation only know that team as a mess of an organization rather than the glamorous jewel of New York basketball. Nobody within the Pacers organization should be pleased that Oladipo is saying that to anybody, but the Raptors and Heat are understandable desired destinations. Well-run, quality franchises that are perennial playoff contenders these days. The Knicks, though? The Knicks?
It's just strange. From the outside, there's no reason for Oladipo to want to leave. The Pacers are at least decent every year and he's as beloved as any athlete in Indiana right now thanks to his college and professional heroics. But nobody knows what Oladipo is thinking except Oladipo. So this is fun content fodder, but it could mean nothing. Or everything. We'll wait and see.