Five Trade Destinations For Indiana Pacers Star Victor Oladipo
On Monday we learned that Indiana Pacers star Victor Oladipo is looking to move on this offseason via The Athletic. Oladipo became an All-Star during the 2017-18 season as the former No. 2 overall pick realized his potential in Indiana. But back-to-back injury riddled seasons have lessened the 28-year-old's value as he's been trying to lock down a contract extension with the Pacers. The two sides are far apart and it feels like they are headed for a breakup.
During his last fully healthy season (2017-18), Oladipo was a lockdown perimeter defender who averaged 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game while shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from 3-point range. He also showed a penchant for hitting clutch shots.
Oladipo still carries a ton of value and if he can get healthy there's no reason he couldn't reach those numbers again. What follows is a list of five teams the Pacers could trade their star guard to.
Los Angeles Lakers
A few weeks ago I was told by two Lakers sources that the team intended to pursue Oladipo this offseason. At the time I dismissed it because I had no reason to believe he'd be on the move. Monday's news obviously changes things. The Lakers would love an athletic perimeter defender who can make plays and hit shots. He'd balance the floor for Anthony Davis and LeBron James and could be a great fit.
Finding the pieces to do a deal will be an issue with this pairing. The Lakers can find the money but I'm not sure it would entice the Pacers. Danny Green is due $15.3 million, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is due $8.5 mil (if he opts in), while Kyle Kuzma is set to make $3.5 million. A combination of two of those guys with Alex Caruso ($2.75 million) thrown in could likely be a match. But would that be attractive enough for the Pacers? On the plus side Green and KCP could come off the books after the 2020-21 season, leaving the Pacers with some cap space to play with.
Given his legitimate singing career, Oladipo would likely be happy with a move to LA.
The Celtics fell just short of the NBA Finals and now they have to figure out what to do next. Do they continue to build with the current pieces and figure out a way to improve, or should they rework the roster with a dramatic move? Obviously in this case, we're betting the latter.
Adding Oladipo would make the Celtics far better on the perimeter. He could fit perfectly playing off of Kemba Walker. He's also a former NBA All-Defensive first-teamer, so in crunch time he and Marcus Smart could help lock down the perimeter. His addition would make Boston far more dangerous. As for making a deal happen, that could be tricky.
Gordon Hayward's four-year, $128 million deal with Boston has been an abject disaster. The 30-year-old needs a change of scenery, so why not send him back home to Indiana. In this scenario, Hayward would opt-in to the final year of his deal ($34.2 million) and play for his next contract with the Pacers. The Celtics would get Oladipo and have to take Jeremy Lamb's $10.5 million to make the salaries work. They would also likely have to include draft picks to get a deal done (they own three first-rounders in the 2020 NBA Draft).
New York Knicks
The Knicks need something, anything to spur their moribund franchise. Oladipo is a blast to watch, has a great personality and the man is even a phenomenal vocalist. He'd be a great All-Star caliber player to build around. The question is what they could give up to entice the Pacers.
Obviously future draft picks could help, the Knicks hold the eighth pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. While they would be unlikely to part with R.J. Barrett, New York could offer up a number of guys like Julius Randle, Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr. and others who could improve in a new setting. But with little actual value there, the picks would be the mechanism for getting a deal done here.
Mike D'Antoni is heavily favored to be the next coach of the Sixers and if that happens the team's roster is going to need a massive makeover. A team loaded with bigs who don't fit D'Antoni's scheme could get a lift from landing Oladipo, who hit 37.1 percent of his 3-pointers during his last full season (2017-18).
The first player likely on the chopping block for the Sixers is Ben Simmons, whose inability to shoot from the outside has hamstrung the offense for years. Sending Simmons to Indiana for Oladipo and a Jeremy Lamb would rebalance the roster rapidly. Simmons is due an estimated $30.5 million next season and it would be a massive contract for the Pacers to absorb. Sending Oladipo and Lamb would largely balance the deal.
Obviously Philadelphia would prefer to move Al Horford and his massive contract, but that's not happening any time soon.
Oladipo would be a great fit for a Miami team with cap space to burn if it drops some of its cap holds. With Goran Dragic now 34-years-old and heading into free agency, there's a spot on the perimeter for Oladipo to fit right in. The Heat hold the No. 20 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and could opt to deal one of their younger players like Duncan Robinson.
The Pacers would likely need to take a contract back, like Kelly Olynyk's if he opts in for next season, but the 20th pick and a few future selections could entice them. They could demand 25-year-old rookie Kendrick Nunn in any deal and the Heat would likely agree given the emergence of Tyler Herro and Oladipo taking Nunn's spot in the lineup.
That could be enough to get a deal done and for both sides to feel happy about it.