Victor Oladipo vehemently denied that he’s been looking for a way out of Indiana amid much speculation that he asked the Pacers to be traded. According to a conversation he had with The Athletic, Oladipo remains as committed as ever to the franchise and his teammates.
“I know there have been people saying that I have asked players to trade for me. That’s just not true, period,” Oladipo informed The Athletic’s Shams Charania. “I love my teammates, I cherish the state of Indiana and I’m focused on leading this franchise to a title.”
The veteran guard was forced to speak out after both The Athletic and ESPN reported that he was looking to move over the past couple of months. Things reached a head on Thursday when the Indianapolis Star reported that Oladipo had been openly lobbying opponents to come get him out of Indiana in front of teammates during games last season.
This was the report that made Oladipo break his silence, forcing him to publicly voice his commitment to the Pacers, who are sitting as big-time +10,000 odds longshots to win next year’s title on 888sport.
Oladipo and his agent have flatly denied that he ever said any of that, but conflicting reports like this usually don’t signify that everything is fine and dandy behind the scenes. Charania did, however, also report that Oladipo and new Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren have “had positive dialogue in recent weeks.”
Oladipo, who was also a Hoosier for four years at Indiana, was not himself after returning from a ruptured quad injury late last season. The Maryland native put up just 14.5 points (career-low since rookie year), 3.9 rebounds (career-low), 2.9 assists, and 0.9 steals (career-low) on 39 percent shooting from the field (career-low) and 32 from deep (career-low) in 19 games.
It wasn’t much better in the playoffs, as he struggled to just 17.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game on 39 percent from the field and 36 from deep, all numbers which pale in comparison to what he did in seven games against a LeBron James-led team in 2018.
The Pacers are obviously hoping to see the 28-year-old return to his form of 2017-2019 when he was a two-time All-Star, named to one All-NBA Third-Team and one All-NBA Defensive First Team, while also leading the league in steals in 2018 on his way to Most Improved Player honors that season.
The New York Knicks and the Milwaukee Bucks have been among the teams linked with the seven-year veteran since the Pacers were eliminated earlier this fall, though if you take Oladipo’s word for it, there’s nothing in any of those rumors. We’ll take his word for now, but we’re not expecting this to be the last thing we hear about this situation.