Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipio is an attractive free agency option
The Indiana Pacers and the NBA at-large don’t know much about Victor Oladipo‘s game following his quad rupture in January of 2019. Since then, Oladipo has played just 13 NBA games after spending well over a year rehabbing the injury back to full health.
What we saw was inconclusive. His return to play was slow and methodical, as one might expect. A year away from the game is no short time, and Oladipo had to not only get back into the full pace of play with a new quad but also with a new-look team.
Domantas Sabonis took over as a leader while Oladipo was gone. The starting lineup included both Sabonis and Myles Turner for the first time.
So it was no surprise that Oladipo was just getting back into a groove when the season was unexpectedly suspended due to the ongoing pandemic.
The Pacers undoubtedly wanted the season to resume this year. Like any team in playoff position, it gives them closure on the season. A closed-campus environment allows the team to show what they’ve got with the advantages big-market teams have over them stripped away.
Furthermore, though, it gives them a chance to see Oladipo and get a gauge on where he’s at. Other teams are looking for the same thing from Oladipo.
Pacers rumors: Miami Heat have interest in Victor Oladipo as free agent
A number of teams would be good suitors for Victor Oladipo, but recent rumors suggest the Miami Heat are already eyeballing Oladipo as a contingency plan, should their explicit run at Giannis Antetokounmpo fall short.
Antetokounmpo, at protests in Milwaukee this weekend, called the city his home and alluded to the fact that he wants to see his son grow up in Wisconsin.
It should be taken with a grain of salt — it could have been in just the heat of the moment — but teams like Miami that are extremely interested in getting a big-ticket free agent in the summer of 2021 need to take note. They can’t count on Antetokounmpo leaving the Bucks.
Oladipo is Miami’s second option, apparently.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald put Oladipo as the number one option for Miami after Giannis in a recent column.
“I would put him No. 1 on the most likely list if Miami doesn’t get Antetokounmpo, and if he returns to his old form — two big ifs.”
There’s also a huge third if Jackson doesn’t point out that needs to be considered. The fact that Indiana has every opportunity to sign Oladipo to an extension this summer, a full year before he’s available in the open market to the Heat.
Jackson does point out that the Pacers did offer Oladipo an extension before this season that was turned down, something that has been reported by Ian Begley of SNY. That doesn’t mean Oladipo isn’t in.
That extension offer was low-balled to an extreme amount. It was a courtesy offer to extend a sign of, “we want you here,” to Oladipo.
The Pacers now have an advantage over Miami and every other team interested in Oladipo. If he shows out in the playoffs this year, they should enter the summer motivated to agree on an extension. Not only will it lock him in with Indy for years to come, but it will also keep them from the headaches star-chasing teams in 2021 will experience.