Like in most offseasons, reports have recently connected the New York Knicks to several big-named NBA players in trade and free agency rumors. The Knicks haven’t made any massive moves yet, but instead some nice quiet moves. There is still time, though. The Knicks are reportedly interested in a former NBA All-Star, but only part of their front office is, as reports suggest that the Knicks are actually split on the idea of trading for him. This player is Indiana Pacers star and the $21 million man, Victor Oladipo.
Victor Oladipo became a star with the Indiana Pacers
Victor Oladipo was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, as he went to the Orlando Magic. He ultimately spent three seasons with the Magic and had some nice years. He averaged 17.9 points per game, 4.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.7 steals in 2014-15. However, in 2016, the Magic traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Oladipo played alongside Russell Westbrook in 2016-17 and had a decent year. In the offseason, though, the Thunder traded him to the Indiana Pacers in the Paul George deal. Indiana is ultimately where he became a star, too.
In Oladipo’s first season in Indiana, he averaged a career-high 23.1 points per game to go with 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and a league-leading 2.4 steals. He also shot a career-high 37.1% from 3-point range and a career-high 47.7% from the field, which helped him earn his first All-Star selection. Oladipo led the Pacers to a lot of success that year, too. They ultimately took LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in the First Round of the playoffs.
Oladipo earned another All-Star selection in 2018-19. He averaged 18.8 points per game, a career-high 5.6 rebounds, and a career-high 5.2 assists. Oladipo, however, ended up suffering a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee and missed the second half of the season, per NBA.com.
He then missed most of the 2019-20 season but ended up playing in 19 regular-season games. In those games, he only averaged 14.5 points per game, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.9 assists. He only shot 31.7% from 3-point range and 39.4% from the field, too.
Oladipo played slightly better in the playoffs for the Pacers. He averaged 17.8 points per game but still only shot 39.3% from the field, as he never looked like he was quite 100% back to where he was before the injury.
The New York Knicks have been linked to him and other big names
The Knicks have reportedly been interested in several big names so far this offseason. They were linked to Chris Paul before the Thunder traded him to the Phoenix Suns. There were also rumors connecting them to Russell Westbrook. However, the Knicks have reportedly “cooled on the idea of handing the keys to the franchise to” him, according to the New York Post.
New York has also been rumored to have an interest in Oladipo. ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported that the Knicks had an interest in him in the past but are potentially in “wait and watch” mode. The Indianapolis Star then later reported that Oladipo asked at least three teams, including the Knicks, if he could play with them, according to the New York Post.
Oladipo later denied that report, but a trade for him might be ideal for the Pacers. He is in the final year of his contract, which will pay him $21 million this season, per Spotrac. So, if the Pacers think he will leave in free agency, it might be best to try to get something out of him instead of watching him leave for nothing.
For the Knicks and any other team interested in him, it wouldn’t be a significant risk to trade for him, even if he’s still not 100%. This is because he would be off the books after this upcoming season. The biggest question for teams, though, is what would they have to give up to acquire him from the Pacers?
The New York Knicks can’t decide about trading for Victor Oladipo
There have been more recent rumors to link the Knicks to Oladipo, but only partially.
Marc Berman of the New York Post recently reported that Knicks general manager Scott Perry — who actually drafted Oladipo with the Magic — wants to explore trading for him. Leon Rose, the Knicks president, though, is “less eager,” according to Berman.
The Pacers might not be ready to trade him yet, either. Berman also reports that Oladipo is potentially not as available as he maybe was a few months ago as he has developed a “strong relationship” with the Pacers’ new head coach, Nate Bjorkgren.
The New York Knicks could have a decent squad this year led by RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, and Julius Randle. However, Knicks fans might still have to wait to see their team finally make the playoffs again.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference