Lakers Or Nets To Trade For Victor Oladipo?
The Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets have serious interest in trading for current Indiana Pacers star Victor Oladipo.
Indiana was unceremoniously swept from the playoffs this past week by Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat. After impressively holding their own in the Eastern Conference despite injuries, the Pacers collapsed in the playoffs.
On Wednesday, head coach Nate McMillan was fired – signaling that a reboot of some sort was on the way for Indiana.
Many believe that reboot will include the trade of a two-time All-Star in Oladipo.
“I bet they trade him,” an ex-NBA executive said recently.
Two teams believed to have serious interest in landing the 28-year-old are Los Angeles and Brooklyn.
“If Oladipo hits the trade block, look for other teams like the Lakers and [Brooklyn] Nets to pursue him, even without a long-term commitment,” Bleacher Report NBA insider Eric Pincus said.
NBA insiders expect the Pacers to trade Victor Oladipo this off-season, per Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report
“I bet they trade him.”
– Former Eastern conference executive
“Oladipo can control [a trade] if he says he won’t re-sign anywhere else.”
– Former executive pic.twitter.com/TdVVcmVBa7
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) August 26, 2020
The Lakers desperately need another talented playmaker alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, so the move would make plenty of sense for them.
Brooklyn, meanwhile, already has multiple dominant playmakers. The fit there is a bit more questionable.
Which Victor Oladipo Will We See In 2021?
The biggest question heading into the offseason as it pertains to Oladipo is who he will ultimately land with. The second biggest question, however, is how he will look once he gets there.
Back in January 2019, he suffered a brutal quad injury that kept him out a full year. When he finally returned this season, he lacked the spark that he had prior to getting hurt. In the regular season, he averaged 14.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per outing. Those numbers marked his lowest since his rookie season.
Fortunately, Oladipo bounced back somewhat in the playoffs. Although he still didn’t look quite the same versus Miami, after Game 1 he did end up averaging 22.3 points and 2.7 steals per outing.
Oladipo is heading into the last year on a deal set to pay him $21 million. The Pacers have committed $85 million to Malcolm Brogdon and $74.9 million to Domantas Sabonis already. It remains to be seen if the organization will want to shell out the big bucks for Oladipo.
If he was still averaging 23 points per outing like he was three years ago – it would be a no brainer. But these are uncertain times.
Presuming Indiana opted not to trade Oladipo away and instead offered him the max deal he will no doubt seek, then the franchise would be committing roughly $116 million to him, Sabonis, Myles Turner, TJ Warren, Brogdon and Jeremy Lamb. That is a lot of cash for a squad whose ceiling is third place in an underwhelming Eastern Conference.
Pacers’ Next Coach Will Decide A Lot
The decision to get rid of McMillan on Wednesday was one that caught many people off guard.
“On behalf of the Simon family and the Pacers organization, I’d like to thank Nate for his years with the team,” team president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said in a statement.
“This was a very hard decision for us to make; but we feel it’s in the best interest of the organization to move in a different direction. Nate and I have been through the good times and the bad times; and it was an honor to work with him for those 11 years (in Indiana and Portland).”
There is no a lot of chatter about Indiana perhaps making a push to land current Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, who is assumed to be in his final season with that organization. Kenny Atkinson is another name worth keeping an eye on.
Whoever the Pacers ultimately opt to hire will need to decide whether they want to bet on Oladipo returning to form, and if he is worth the contract he clearly wants.
If the answer is no, then seeing Oladipo in a Lakers or Nets jersey in 2020-21 suddenly becomes a lot more likely.