Central Notes: Oladipo, Holiday, P. Williams

The trade rumors surrounding Victor Oladipo died down to some extent as the 2020 offseason progressed. Reports suggested that he had hit it off with new Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren, while Oladipo himself said he had never told the team he wanted to be elsewhere.

Still, that doesn’t mean everyone is convinced that he’ll play out his full contract year with the Pacers. One NBA executive recently predicted to Bob Kravitz of The Athletic that Indiana will trade the two-time All-Star by the March 25 trade deadline: “He’s gone. They’ll move him.”

Kravitz isn’t ruling out the possibility of Oladipo thriving under Bjorkgren and deciding that he wants to remain the Pacers long-term, but predicts a deadline deal. No matter what happens, it’d be a win-win situation for Oladipo and the Pacers if the 28-year-old has a strong bounceback season in 2020/21 — it would make Indiana competitive on the court, increase Oladipo’s trade value, and increase the likelihood of signing a lucrative long-term contract when he becomes a free agent in 2021.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • The Bucks‘ suffered a heartbreaking opening-night loss to Boston on Wednesday, but they got a good look at what newly-acquired guard Jrue Holiday brings to the team, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Holiday commands respect as a shot creator, giving Milwaukee an added option on offense and taking some of the pressure off Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, as Nehm observes.
  • Fourth overall pick Patrick Williams was immediately thrust into the Bulls‘ starting lineup in his first game as a pro on Wednesday. K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago provides a few reasons for why it makes sense for Williams to be a starter, noting that his strengths and weaknesses are a better fit for the first unit.
  • In case you missed it, a report on Thursday indicated that Cavaliers swingman Dylan Windler, a first-round pick in 2019, suffered a fractured hand on opening night. Windler missed his full rookie season in 2019/20 due to a leg injury.
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