All-Star shooting guard Victor Oladipo was one of the players that made the Indiana Pacers an exciting squad again in the post-Paul George era. From the time he set foot in Indiana, he immediately stepped up and elevated his game to help the Pacers remain competitive in the Eastern Conference. However, after spending the past two years dealing with numerous injuries and showing a decline with his performance, Oladipo is currently facing an uncertain future with the Pacers.
Regardless of the outcome of the 2019-20 NBA season, Oladipo and the Pacers are expected to enter a negotiation regarding a contract extension this fall. If they fail to reach a mutual agreement, Mandela Namaste of Bleacher Report thinks that it is highly likely for both sides to head into different directions in the 2020 offseason.
“It might anger local fans to trade an Indiana alum who’s also the team’s most talented player, but the Pacers played well without him this year and may want to move on from a potentially troublesome situation. For Indiana to cough up significant money to bring in Brogdon, TJ Warren and Jeremy Lamb last summer, only to have the team’s ostensible star depart, would be cruelly ironic. But that’s the reality of being a small-market NBA team and the sensible path in a post-COVID-19 world for many clubs.”
If his performance in his first year in Indiana will be the basis, giving the veteran shooting guard a maximum contract extension would be a no-brainer for the Pacers. However, with his health status and deteriorating performance, investing a huge amount of money to Oladipo may no longer be a wise move for the Pacers, especially knowing that they somewhat managed to play well even without him on the court.
Instead of giving Oladipo a massive contract extension, the Pacers might be better off focusing on the development of their current core and spending their salary cap space on players that could help them address more important issues on their roster. In this case, it might be really best for them to trade Oladipo this fall than lose him in the summer of 2021 as an unrestricted free agent without getting anything in return.
Despite his health issues and inconsistencies, there might still be teams who are willing to give up valuable assets to add Oladipo to their roster in the 2020 offseason. In the past months, Oladipo has already been linked to several title contenders and rebuild squads who are dire need of additional star power and want to boost their backcourt. These include the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Atlanta Hawks, Denver Nuggets, and the Miami Heat.