Pacers guard Victor Oladipo has been the subject of trade rumors recently, with a report earlier this week suggesting that the two-time All-Star is “looking to move on” from Indiana. Appearing on “The Fat Joe Show” on Instagram Live on Wednesday, Oladipo addressed that report for the first time, as Chris Sims of The Indianapolis Star writes.
“I knew that question was coming. I don’t know what you’re talking about, man. I’m a Pacer, man. … I’m a Pacer,” Oladipo replied when asked about his future in Indiana and whether a move to the Knicks, Fat Joe’s hometown team, might be in the cards. “All these other rumors … I can’t control the rumors. I’m just focused on my knee.”
Oladipo is entering a contract year and reportedly plans to reach free agency in 2021 rather than negotiating an extension with the Pacers before then. That’s standard procedure for stars looking to maximize their earnings, but it has fueled trade speculation, especially given the team’s playoff struggles in recent years.
An Indianapolis Star report in July indicated that Oladipo’s top two priorities in free agency will be maximizing his earnings and putting himself in position to win championships. In his conversation with Fat Joe this week, the 28-year-old downplayed financial motivations, suggesting that he’s focused solely on winning.
“Charles Barkley is one of the greatest ever, for sure. But he don’t have a ring, though. … Not saying that Charles Barkley ain’t a great player, but at the end of the day, I want to be able to show my kids, when I have them, how great of a player I was,” Oladipo said. “And in order to do that, you gotta show them some hardware. So that’s what I’m locked in on doing, man. I want some hardware and I want a lot of hardware.”
If Oladipo is unconvinced that the Pacers have the pieces necessary to contend for a title, that would be a red flag for the front office, who won’t want to lose the standout guard for nothing in free agency. Oladipo’s assertions that he’s “a Pacer” are unlikely to bury these trade rumors, so the situation continues to be one worth monitoring.