Victor Oladipo

Warriors Reportedly Have Interest In Victor Oladipo

The Warriors have interest in acquiring Rockets guard Victor Oladipo, league sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.

Houston just acquired Oladipo in January in the four-team trade that sent James Harden to Brooklyn, but with the Rockets near the bottom of the NBA’s standings and Oladipo set to reach unrestricted free agency this summer, there has been plenty of speculation he could be on the move again before the March 25 trade deadline.

As O’Connor explains, the Warriors’ interest in Oladipo suggests the team would like to add another ball-handler to take some of the pressure off of Stephen Curry. A secondary ball-handler on the wing could play a role similar to the one that Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala played on Golden State’s title teams, O’Connor notes.

[RELATED: Warriors Viewed As Potential Trade-Deadline Wild Card]

It’s not clear what Golden State would be willing to give up in an offer for Oladipo. Rookie center James Wiseman and the Timberwolves’ 2021 first-round pick (top-three protected) are the Warriors’ top trade assets, but it’s probably safe to assume they wouldn’t put Wiseman on the table for a UFA-to-be like Oladipo, who still hasn’t captured his All-Star form since returning from a quad tendon injury a year ago. As O’Connor observes, Houston likely won’t be able to demand a significant return for the 28-year-old.

If the Warriors did make an offer for Oladipo, either Andrew Wiggins or Kelly Oubre would almost certainly have to be included for salary-matching purposes. The Rockets could probably demand more significant draft assets if they were willing to take on Wiggins’ pricey multiyear contract rather than Oubre’s more affordable expiring deal.

League sources tell The Ringer that Bulls forward Otto Porter – who is on a $28.5MM expiring contract – is another player who has drawn some interest from the Warriors. He’d be a more realistic target if he’s bought out, which some executives think could happen, O’Connor says.

Aggregation Restriction Lifted For Players In James Harden Trade

The trade aggregation restriction has expired for the seven players who were involved in this season’s most significant deal, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. That means everyone who was part of the four-team swap that sent James Harden to the Nets in January can now be combined with other salaries in another trade.

While that may not matter much to the other three teams involved, it’s significant for the Rockets, particularly involving Victor Oladipo, who has an expiring $21MM contract. Oladipo has remained a productive scorer in Houston, averaging 19.9 PPG in 15 games, but he’s shooting just 38.7% from the field and 31.3% from three-point range.

The rebuilding Rockets will have to decide whether they want to make a long-term investment in Oladipo, who will turn 29 before the season ends and is still sitting out one-half of back-to-back sets due to health concerns. He declined a two-year, $45MM extension offer from Houston shortly after the trade, the largest the Rockets could offer at the time, but the team admits that was just a way to show he was wanted. Oladipo will seek a longer deal once free agency arrives.

If Houston decides not to make that investment, its best option is to trade him before the March 25 deadline. The Knicks would be among the teams with interest, according to a report this week.

Owning the league’s third-worst record after 13 straight losses, the Rockets are expected to be among the league’s most active sellers heading into the deadline. They will also be able to aggregate the $9.6MM contract for Dante Exum and the $1.78MM deal for Rodions Kurucs, as both were acquired in the Harden deal.

In addition to Harden, the other players in the trade – who can now be aggregated – were Pacers guard Caris LeVert and Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince.

Hawks Notes: Hunter, Pierce, Collins, Oladipo, Young

Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter did not receive a second PRP injection in his right knee, which increases the possibility he could return to action this month, according to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Hunter was originally projected to return in late March or early April after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on February 8. With the decision that a second PRP injection wasn’t needed, his timeline could be accelerated 7-10 days.

Hunter has increased his rehabilitation activities to include unrestricted weight room work and progressive court reloading, according to a team press release. His status will be updated on March 19.

We have more on the Hawks:

  • In response to reports that several players lobbied for a coaching change, former head coach Lloyd Pierce said it’s the nature of the business on a SiriusXM NBA Radio interview (hat tip to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Chris Vivlamore). “I understand as the head coach it’s always going to be on me to make sure I put my guys, my staff, in position to operate successfully. So the relationships aren’t great. They are never going to be great. I’m the guy who has to pull the guy out of the game when he doesn’t think he needs to come out. … My job is not to be best friends with these guys. My job is for them to understand me, to respect me, to know I have a plan and vision and I got to get them to try to execute that.
  • In a separate piece, Kirschner opines that the Hawks shouldn’t trade John Collins, arguing that the young big has gotten better each year, and there’s still room for improvement. He also fits well with Trae Young, though the front office doesn’t view Collins as a team’s second-best player on a championship-level squad. Kirschner also argues against pursuing Victor Oladipo in a trade, noting the team has already invested heavily in wing players.
  • Interim coach Nate McMillan and his potential successor will have to design an offense that empowers more than Young, Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer opines. The head coach will also have to get Young to buy in to a more balanced system.

New York Notes: Oladipo, Rozier, Ball, Rose, Claxton

As the surging Knicks near the trade deadline, Rockets’ forward Victor Oladipo remains a target for the team, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. It was reported back in early February that New York was eyeing the 28-year-old ahead of free agency.

Oladipo has already been traded once the season, having been involved in the four-team deal that sent James Harden to Brooklyn. Set for free agency at the end of the year, Oladipo has put up his best numbers since the 2018/19 season in his time between the Pacers and Rockets. In 24 games, Oladipo is averaging 20.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 4.5 APG.

Berman notes that some people are wary of Oladipo’s physical condition, even though he is two years removed from a season-ending ruptured quad tendon back in January 2019. But, paired with first-time All-Star Julius Randle, Oladipo could give the Knicks an offensive jolt as they contend for a postseason spot.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • In the same piece, Berman notes that people within the Knicks organization fear the team does not have a definitive option at point guard. Elfrid Payton has been injured and inconsistent when healthy, exciting rookie Immanuel Quickley is seen more like a sixth man, Derrick Rose has also been coming off the bench, and Frank Ntilikina only recently reentered the rotation. The Knicks have reportedly kept tabs on Hornets’ Terry Rozier and Pelicans’ Lonzo Ball.
  • Despite flying back with the team after registering multiple negative COVID-19 tests following an inconclusive result, Rose sat out the Knicks‘ last game before the All-Star break on Thursday due to the health and safety protocols, Steve Popper of Newsday writes. It remains to be seen when Rose can rejoin the Knicks on the court.
  • Amid his solid display in the Nets‘ last few games, NetsDaily examines whether Nicolas Claxton can help offset the loss of Jarrett Allen, who the team traded as part of the Harden deal.

Southwest Notes: Oladipo, Porter, Ball, Winslow

Word broke over the weekend that Victor Oladipo had turned down a contract extension offer from the Rockets, but the two-time All-Star actually passed on that offer a while ago, he confirmed on Monday. As Oladipo explained, the proposal was just a formality, since the team understood he wouldn’t sign it.

“It was more along the lines, ‘We know you’re not going to accept it, but we still want you to understand we want you here,'” Oladipo said of the Rockets’ offer. “… It was put in front of me or given to me to show me that they want me to be here. I didn’t get a chance to say yes or no. They already knew I wasn’t going to accept it anyway.”

Oladipo’s decision to decline the offer doesn’t necessarily mean that he has no interest in remaining with the Rockets long-term — it’s more about his desire to reach the open market this summer as a free agent. He had previously turned down a more lucrative offer from Indiana for the same reason.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Before he makes his debut for the Rockets, recently-acquired guard Kevin Porter is getting back up to speed in the G League, and his stint with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers is going well so far. Porter was officially named the NBAGL Player of the Week on Tuesday after averaging 27.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 2.0 steals in his past four games.
  • Lonzo Ball has been the subject of some trade rumors this season, but the Pelicans guard thinks that he, Zion Williamson, and Brandon Ingram could be the start of a formidable long-term core for the franchise, as Christian Clark of NOLA.com writes. “I love playing with those guys,” Ball said of the two standout forwards. “I’m really cool with them off the court as well. We’re all young. I think we can do some big things.”
  • It took nearly a year for him to finally take the court for the Grizzlies, but now that he’s healthy, Justise Winslow is grateful that the team traded for him and stuck with him during his lengthy injury rehab process, as Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal details. “This trade was one of the best things to happen in my life on and off the court for me,” Winslow told sideline reporter Rob Fischer on Sunday. “This organization just being so patient with me. I’m just so thankful. A lot of gratitude and a lot of joy in my heart right now.”

Southwest Notes: Rockets, Porzingis, Spurs, Mavs, Vucevic

It’s time for the Rockets to sell off assets and acquire more draft picks, Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer argues. Victor Oladipo, who reportedly rejected a two-year extension, is the team’s biggest trade chip and P.J. Tucker is the most likely player to be dealt. Eric Gordon could also be moved if a contender is willing to take on his contract.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Mavericks are going to great lengths to try to keep Kristaps Porzingis healthy and productive and Tim Cato of The Athletic details what the franchise is doing to make that happen. Porzingis hasn’t played more than 66 games over the last four seasons; he’s appeared in 18 of the Mavericks’ 32 games this season.
  • The Spurs will start allowing fans in the AT&T Center on March 12, according to a team press release. Attendance will be limited to approximately 3,200 fans to help maintain physical distancing. The March 12 game will be the first of 17 home games for the Spurs after the All-Star break.
  • The Mavericks were interested in Nikola Vucevic when the Magic center hit the free agent market in 2019 but he was out of their price range, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Vucevic re-signed with Orlando that summer for four years and $100MM.
  • Thanks to his improved play, Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball is less likely to be dealt before the trade deadline. Get the latest notes and rumors out of New Orleans here.

Atlantic Notes: Noel, Sixers, Tatum, Raptors

Already missing Mitchell Robinson due to a broken hand, the Knicks may also have to get by for a little while without Taj Gibson, who sprained his ankle on Saturday and was inactive on Sunday. However, Nerlens Noel‘s play at the five has helped ease the team’s depth issues up front, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post.

“I definitely don’t want anyone hurt on this team,” said Noel, who has started the Knicks’ last eight games at center. “But I’ve taken that spot and made a focal point to man this team and be the anchor on the defensive end and do the small little things to help us win. I think I’ve been at a high level.”

Asked on Sunday about the possibility of adding another center to the roster, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau deferred to president of basketball operations Leon Rose, but said the club has “more than enough on the roster” to get by. As Berman notes, Julius Randle saw some action at center on Sunday, with rookie Obi Toppin playing alongside him at the four.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • While much of the recent Sixers-related trade speculation has centered on Kyle Lowry, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer wonders if Rockets guard Victor Oladipo might make sense as an alternative for Philadelphia. At $21MM, Oladipo’s salary would be easier to match than Lowry’s $30.5MM cap hit, and the slumping Rockets may be more inclined than Toronto to sell.
  • In addition to being promoted to the All-Star starting lineup as a result of Kevin Durant‘s injury, Celtics forward Jayson Tatum expects to participate in either the skills challenge or the 3-point contest prior to the All-Star Game next Sunday, but he won’t do both, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at potential options for the Raptors if they pursue a center on the trade market, zeroing in on Kings big man Richaun Holmes as an ideal target for Toronto, given his modest salary and impressive impact.

Victor Oladipo Declines Extension From Rockets

Rockets guard Victor Oladipo has turned down a two-year, $45.2MM contract extension from the franchise, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Due to extend-and-trade restrictions, that two-year offer is the most lucrative deal the Rockets could give to Oladipo prior to the offseason, and the fact that he turned it down is unsurprising — before he was dealt to Houston, the 28-year-old reportedly declined an extension offer from the Pacers that would have started at $25MM.

Oladipo, who has long expressed a preference to reach free agency, is seeking a longer-term contract, according to Wojnarowski. Houston will need to decide whether to keep him past the March 25 trade deadline.

Oladipo started the season with the Pacers and was dealt to Houston in January as part of the multi-team trade featuring James Harden. He’s averaged 18.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 13 games with the Rockets this season, shooting 39% from the floor and 29.5% from deep in those contests.

As Wojnarowski notes, the Heat and Knicks are among the teams who have expressed interest in Oladipo. Both teams would have the cap space to sign the two-time All-Star outright in free agency.

Texas Notes: Wall, Oladipo, Spurs, Porzingis

The Rockets may continue to alternate guards John Wall and Victor Oladipo during back-to-back games, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. There are injury concerns with both players, and coach Stephen Silas indicated he plans to be careful with them.

“We’re still kind of working it out,” he said. “Victor obviously is coming off the foot injury. John participated today in the limited practice that we had, but he’s getting treatment on the foot that got landed on (Friday) night (against Toronto). We’ve had some early conversations because haven’t cemented what the plan is going to be. I wouldn’t say that both will play both (games).”

Back-to-backs will be a greater concern in the second half of the schedule, as Houston has 10 of them in its 38 games. Assuming both players remain with the team past the March 25 trade deadline, that could pose a major obstacle to turning the season around.

“It hasn’t been great in the first half not having one of those guys on the basketball side,” Silas said, “but the long-term prognosis, the health, has to be first and foremost and we have to figure out the basketball part around that.”

There’s more NBA news from Texas:

  • The Rockets are trying not to focus on the 10-game losing streak that has dropped them nearly to the bottom of the Western Conference, Feigen adds in a separate story. Today’s practice featured a long video session that concentrated on correcting mistakes. “We just got to keep getting better, man,” Oladipo said. “Stay optimistic and positive. I know it’s tough right now, obviously. It’s easy to kind of go the negative route. That’s not going to solve anything. In fact, it’ll make things worse. It’s just us. We’ve just got to figure out a way to win every night.”
  • The Spurs are missing five players due to health and safety protocols, and coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t expect to have a full team again until after the All-Star break, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express News. Popovich said the five players — Derrick White, Keldon Johnson, Rudy Gay, Devin Vassell and Quinndary Weatherspoon — won’t all return at the same time.
  • Kristaps Porzingis has been cleared to return for the Mavericks tonight, tweets Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. “I don’t see him going into the high 30s or anything like that, but we have not talked about any specific minutes limits,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Porzingis, who missed the past three games with back tightness. “Everything’s very positive at this moment.”

Rockets Notes: Cousins, Oladipo, Croom, Porter

The DeMarcus Cousins era in Houston formally came to an end on Tuesday, as the Rockets announced they’ve officially waived the veteran center.

Explaining the decision to release Cousins, general manager Rafael Stone said they’ve been “talking to him about this for a little while” and decided the time was right to allow him to pursue a new opportunity (link via Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston). Stone added that Houston opted to guarantee Cousins’ full-season salary before parting ways with him because the team appreciated his work ethic and felt “that was the best way we could think of to say thank you.”

For John Wall, who played college ball with Cousins at Kentucky, teaming up with the veteran center in the NBA was something he’d looked forward to for a while, and he expressed some disappointment that it didn’t work out as they might’ve hoped.

Getting to play with him again was what we always wanted in the NBA,” Wall said, per Berman. “It didn’t last as long as we thought it would. The decision that was made is out of my hands. It’s up to the front office, whatever they feel is best for our team going forward.

“I think with his time here he did a hell of a job,” Wall continued. “I think he showed he could come back and play in this league, coming off of injuries. Hopefully he can get another job somewhere very soon…getting back to where he wants to be in this league.”

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • Victor Oladipo (right foot strain) suffered a slight setback when he stepped on teammate Rodions Kurucs‘ foot during a practice, preventing him from returning to action on Monday, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Head coach Stephen Silas said he remains hopeful that Oladipo will be back “sooner rather than later.”
  • Emiliano Carchia of Sportando, who reported last month that the Rockets are looking to hire an executive in an assistant general manager-type role, identifies former Timberwolves executive Noah Croom as a candidate being considered for that position.
  • Kevin Porter has yet to make his Rockets debut since being acquired from Cleveland a month ago, but his new team has a vision for how it will use him, writes Kelly Iko of The Athletic. The Rockets, who plan to have Porter finish the G League season at the Walt Disney World bubble, expect to have him eventually assume a point guard role on the second unit, per Iko.