Veteran guard Victor Oladipo, who was traded to the Thunder this offseason, won’t be in training camp with the team, general manager Sam Presti told reporters on Wednesday, per Brandon Rahbar of Daily Thunder (Twitter link). According to Rahbar, Presti said that the Thunder will soon have to make a decision on Oladipo’s contract.
“VO is great. He’s been through a lot,” Presti said. “He’ll be back this season at some point. But with our roster situation, we can’t prioritize that. But we’re big fans of Victor.”
Oklahoma City acquired Oladipo from the Heat in July along with a pair of second-round picks. It was a cost-cutting move for Miami after the 31-year-old picked up his $9.45MM player option for the 2023/24 season.
Oladipo has had his career derailed in recent years by a series of leg injuries. The latest one occurred in the spring, as he tore the patellar tendon in his left knee early in the postseason.
While Presti indicated today that he expects Oladipo to return to action at some point this season, he presumably won’t be ready for opening night. And even when he has been healthy enough to play in recent years, the two-time All-Star has struggled to regain his old form.
In his prime, Oladipo was a talented scorer and a lockdown perimeter defender. However, he hasn’t been able to stay on the court for a full season since 2017/18. Last year, in 42 games for the Heat, he averaged 10.7 points, 3.5 assists, and 2.7 rebounds in 26.3 minutes per night, with a shooting line of .397/.330/.747.
The Thunder have a roster crunch this fall, with 15 players on guaranteed contracts and three more (Isaiah Joe, Aaron Wiggins, and Jack White) who have a legitimate shot to make the club’s 15-man regular season roster. Oklahoma City will have to trade or waive at least three players before opening night, and Oladipo looks like a good bet to be one of the odd men out. If OKC is unable to find a taker for his expiring contract, he could be waived before the regular season begins.