With the Cleveland Cavaliers in the middle of a rebuild that has seen them miss the playoffs in the last two seasons, a recent article suggested that the organization could trade for Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo to potentially speed up the process and help them return to the postseason sooner rather than later.
As explained by Bleacher Report on Saturday, the Cavaliers have won just 38 games since LeBron James left the team in the 2018 free agency period to join the Los Angeles Lakers. While the team missed the playoffs for four straight years following James’ decision to sign with the Miami Heat in the summer of 2010, reports have suggested that owner Dan Gilbert wants to see the organization “show real improvement” in the 2020-21 campaign.
According to the outlet, it might seem like a “strange” move for Cleveland to acquire a “short-term solution” such as Oladipo and give up several valuable assets in return. However, it was also noted that doing so might be the best way to make a quick return to the postseason. With that in mind, the publication suggested a deal that would allow the Cavs to land the two-time All-Star in exchange for guards Collin Sexton and Dante Exum, forward Cedi Osman, and a first-round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
As further explained, Oladipo’s recent injury history and possible asking price in contract extension talks cast doubt on the possibility that the Pacers will try to retain him beyond the summer of 2021. Despite these issues, Bleacher Report added that he could still make a big impact if he moves on to another team in the 2020 offseason.
“[H]is best-case version is a top-tier athlete with few holes at either end. He can be a transformative talent, and that’s exactly what Cleveland needs to get going. If the Cavs are sincerely aiming at the 2021 postseason, a healthy Oladipo is the kind of player who can lead them there.”
Per Basketball-Reference, Oladipo is currently averaging 14.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in 17 games for the Pacers, with shooting clips of 40.8 percent from the field and 32.2 percent from beyond the arc. While these numbers pale in comparison to his career averages, he scored 22 points and played a key role in Indiana’s come-from-behind win over the Lakers on Saturday night, as noted by The Indianapolis Star.
Discussing how Indiana could benefit from the hypothetical trade with the Cavs, Bleacher Report wrote that Sexton, who has blossomed as a top scorer in his second NBA season, could become a two-way threat under head coach Nate McMillan’s tutelage. The publication added that Exum could contribute with his perimeter defense while Osman could add depth to a small forward rotation currently led by T.J. Warren.