Victor Oladipo

Victor Oladipo To Opt Out Of NBA Restart

4:33pm: Oladipo plans to accompany the Pacers to Orlando, a league source tells Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports (Twitter link).

Because Oladipo is traveling with the team, Indiana won’t be allowed to replace him and he won’t forfeit any salary, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. In other words, Oladipo will essentially be treated as an injured player rather than one who is voluntarily opting out.


2:50pm: Pacers star Victor Oladipo has decided he won’t participate in the NBA’s restart in Orlando this summer, he tells Shams Charania of The Athletic.

“I really want to play, and as a competitor and teammate this is tearing me apart,” Oladipo told Charania. “I feel like I’m at a great place in my rehab and getting closer and closer to 100 percent. With all the variables, from how I have to build my 5-on-5 workload back up, to the increased risk of a soft tissue injury which could delay my rehab, and the unknown exact set up of the bubble I just can’t get my mind to being fully comfortable in playing.

“I have to be smart and this decision hasn’t been easy, but I truly believe continuing on the course I’m on and getting fully healthy for the 2020/21 season is the right decision for me.”

Oladipo, who suffered a torn quad tendon during the 2018/19 season, missed approximately a full calendar year, making his return for the Pacers on January 29. His play was somewhat inconsistent leading up to the suspension of the NBA season, and he missed five games during that stretch, but he had his best performance in Indiana’s final game before the hiatus, pouring in 27 points against Boston on March 10.

Oladipo’s trainer, Luke Miller, tells Charania that the two-time All-Star hasn’t had a setback and is “in the best shape he’s ever been in.” However, Oladipo and Miller were concerned about the possibility of the Pacers guard suffering an injury in Orlando, given the truncated ramp-up period to the eight seeding games and the playoffs.

“It’s not worrisome, the quad tendon itself — it’s the other soft tissues around it,” Miller told Charania. “Research shows that within about two years, coming back from a major injury and major surgery, these guys are more susceptible to an injury because of quad deficit. It’s a lot to ask Vic to come back in three weeks from five-on-five and play in playoff games.”

The Pacers – who are 39-26 and rank fifth in the Eastern Conference – are unlikely to make a deep playoff run this summer without Oladipo active. The team is also missing Jeremy Lamb (torn ACL), and Malcolm Brogdon recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Still, Indiana has the 28-year-old under contract for at least one more year, and there have been some indications that the two sides have interest in a longer-term deal. He’ll be eligible for a contract extension this fall, or could get a longer, more lucrative contract as a free agent in 2021.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Victor Oladipo Remains Undecided About Playing

Pacers guard Victor Oladipo remains undecided whether he’ll play in Orlando, but he’ll be included on the team’s travel party list, according to ESPN’s Eric Woodyard.

Oladipo, who spoke with the media via Zoom on Wednesday morning, has some concerns about suffering an injury setback. Oladipo endured a long-term rehab for his surgically repaired quad tendon and returned to action in late January.

He appeared in 13 games before play was halted, averaging 13.8 PPG in 25.9 MPG. He scored a season-high 27 points in 29 minutes against Boston in Indiana’s last game on March 10.

“At the end of the day, it takes time for your body to heal,” he said. “They’re sure I feel better, but at the same time we’ve had an extensive period of time off and to go back and ramp things up again, I’m susceptible to injury more so than anyone else, seeing as how I was already injured beforehand and I wasn’t 100 percent when I came back to begin with.”

Oladipo went on to elaborate about his injury risk. He’ll be playing on an expiring contract next season, when he makes $21MM. Indiana enters the Orlando bubble with the Eastern Conference’s fifth-best record at 39-26.

“A part of rehab is working your way back and getting yourself to 100 percent, so at the end of the day going back and turning things up as quickly as we’re about to do, and pretty much going to playoff formation and playoff games after eight (seeding) games, I’m more susceptible to injury than anyone else is,” he said. “So, it’s not about now, it’s about longevity.”

The Pacers have resumed mandatory individual workouts at the St. Vincent Center in Indianapolis, Woodyard notes, but are giving Oladipo space and time to make up his mind.

“I don’t have a deadline,” he said.

Victor Oladipo Unsure If He’s Ready For Orlando

Pacers guard Victor Oladipo will test his surgically repaired quad tendon before making a final decision on playing in Orlando, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Oladipo plans to start intense workouts next week to see how his body responds before making a commitment. He made his season debut January 29 and played in just 13 games before the hiatus, averaging 13.8 PPG in about 26 minutes per night. The former All-Star missed roughly a year of action after suffering the injury in January of 2019.

“I feel a whole lot better,” Oladipo said. “I know there’s risk going into it with the unique situation that I’m in — being off so long and trying to ramp it up that fast. I’ve just got to be smart, that’s all.”

The Pacers worked with Oladipo throughout his rehab process and were careful not to bring him back too soon, Wojnarowski adds. They will continue to watch him closely until a final decision is made.

Players face a Wednesday deadline to inform the league if they plan to report to Orlando, and teams must submit their active rosters by July 1. It’s not clear if Indiana would be able to replace Oladipo if he opts not to play, since substitute players aren’t eligible to replace players with injuries.

Heat Notes: Free Agent Targets, Butler, Olynyk, Restart

Though adding reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to their exciting roster remains the top goal for the Heat in 2021 summer free agency, they have many other viable options if Antetokounmpo is unavailable or uninterested, according to The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.

Even with the prospect of a slight decline in the 2021 NBA salary cap due to the coronavirus pandemic causing a league revenue loss, the Heat should still have the cap space to add a maximum-salary free agent next summer to go along their intriguing core of All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, plus developing rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro.

Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo, who trains in South Florida during the offseason, would be a great fit on the wing along with Butler, Jackson notes. Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, Celtics forward Gordon Hayward, and Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie number among Jackson’s other preferences for free agent additions to the Heat in 2021. Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Thunder guard Chris Paul may be available via trade.

There’s more news out of South Beach:

  • The Heat’s top free agent acquisition of 2019, All-NBA swing man Jimmy Butler, has returned to Miami this week in anticipation of a league restart as Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald reports.
  • With just eight non-playoff games left for the top 22 teams, the Heat have officially clinched a playoff berth, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link). This means that Heat big man Kelly Olynyk will earn a $400K playoff bonus written into his contract.
  • The Heat’s status for the season restart was explored in another piece from The Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman. Production of Heat game broadcasts will be handled away from the games to accommodate COVID-19 personnel restrictions. Center Meyers Leonard, who injured his ankle during the Heat’s last game to this point, on March 11, has recovered and will be ready once play resumes.

Victor Oladipo Talks Health, Pacers, Legacy

Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo was able to return to action earlier this year after undergoing surgery for a torn quad last January, which ended his 2018/19 season and forced a late start to the currently-suspended campaign.

All told, over an 18-month period, Oladipo has had to abruptly stop playing basketball twice. As the NBA weighs the possibility of continuing the season, Oladipo tells Michael Lee of The Athletic he wants to establish himself as one of the greats.

After returning in January, Oladipo appeared in 13 games (10 starts) before the coronavirus pandemic shuttered play. Oladipo admitted that he “would be lying” if he said he was playing above 80% this season.

Ahead of free agency this summer, the 28-year-old discussed his personal goals moving forward, his intended legacy and much more.

Check out the highlights below:

On hiss ultimate career goal::

“At the end of the day, I wanted my name to be mentioned with one of the greats. So, when this quad injury happened, my job is not over. My legacy isn’t finished. This knee is a little bump in the road, I guess you would say. But someone once told me a long time ago, ‘If the road you’re on is easy, then you’re on the wrong road.’ So I hate calling it a ‘bump in a road.’”

On the feeling he needs to constantly prove himself:

“Me, personally, I feel they don’t really respect me. And that’s fine. I get it. It was only one year or a year and a few months, or whatever the case may be. And I still got a lot to prove. I want the whole world to remember my name. That’s why I do what I do. And that’s why I’m going to come back stronger than ever because I still have some unfinished business. And I still got a lot of things that I need to accomplish and want to accomplish — so my name can ring bells.”

On understanding the Pacers culture:

“The money is great, obviously, and the lifestyle is cool, but coming from where I come from, if they ain’t talking about you as one of the best, it’s no point in you even playing. That’s what I got from PG County. I want to be a legend, period, when it comes to this game. That’s why I work as hard as I do. I remember when no one knew who I was, and that’s what keeps me going every day. That makes me work harder every day. That’s why it’s so hard to take a break because it’s so many things I need to do.”

Central Notes: Oladipo, Respert, Cavs, Pistons

After reporting earlier this week that the Pacers aren’t considering the possibility of shopping Victor Oladipo and that the veteran guard isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star digs a little further into the subject.

A source tells The Star that Oladipo “loves” Indiana, and Michael notes that the two-time All-Star has a good, “open-door” relationship with Pacers executives Kevin Pritchard and Chad Buchanan.

According to Michael, the Pacers have made it clear they’re willing to give Oladipo a maximum-salary contract once his current deal ends in 2021, assuming that’s his market value. The 28-year-old hasn’t fully regained his All-Star form since returning from a serious leg injury, but is willing to roll the dice that he can get there.

Doing so would put him in line to earn a long-term max deal in ’21 rather than settling for an early extension that wouldn’t be as lucrative or as lengthy, due to CBA restrictions — Oladipo is seeking as much security as possible on his next contract, says Michael.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Bulls director of player development Shawn Respert, whose contract is set to expire at the end of the season, won’t be retained beyond 2019/20, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Interestingly, Johnson says that decision was made by Jim Boylen, who remains the Bulls’ head coach for now as he continues to be evaluated by the team’s new basketball operations decision-makers.
  • The Cavaliers are unlikely to have any cap room this offseason, but could still be a minor player in free agency, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, who speculates in his latest mailbag that Derrick Jones, Michael Carter-Williams, Josh Jackson, and Harry Giles could be among Cleveland’s targets.
  • While February’s Andre Drummond trade will help ensure the Cavs don’t have cap room this offseason, moving Drummond’s contract should allow the Pistons to create upwards of $30-35MM in space, depending on where exactly the cap lands. James L. Edwards III of The Athletic explores which players Detroit could look at if the team decides to trade for unwanted contracts rather than using its room on free agents.

Pacers Rumors: Oladipo, Turner, Sabonis, Draft

A report earlier this month indicated that teams around the NBA are expected to monitor Victor Oladipo, who will be entering a contract year in 2020/21 and hadn’t fully hit his stride with the new-look Pacers since returning from a major leg injury.

However, a league source tells J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star that Oladipo isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. According to that source, the Pacers have no plans to shop the two-time All-Star on the trade market during the 2020 offseason, and intend to focus on locking him up to a new deal beyond 2021. Oladipo’s name hasn’t come up in any trade talks to date, two sources told Michael.

As previous reports have indicated, Oladipo and the Pacers briefly discussed an extension before the 2019/20 season began, but he only could have added three new years at that point and wouldn’t have been eligible to increase his salary to the league max.

Oladipo decided at that point to wait on negotiating a new contract and will likely take the same approach during the 2020 offseason, according to Michael, who notes that Oladipo could maximize his potential earnings by waiting until his contract expires in 2021 to sign a new one. At that point, he’d be eligible for up to five years if he re-signs with Indiana.

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • Despite a long-standing belief among outside observers that Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner aren’t compatible, there was no indication at the trade deadline that the Pacers planned to move either player, according to Michael. Still, the club remains in the market for a power forward, Michael adds.
  • Turner drew some interest around the NBA prior to the deadline, particularly from the Wizards, according to Michael. One source tells the Indy Star that Washington was only inquiring about the big man for future reference, but another source told the Star that a “key player” from the Wizards sat down with someone close to Turner to directly express interest. According to Michael, Turner’s camp didn’t take those inquiries too seriously because they were aware Indiana wasn’t looking to move the 24-year-old.
  • The Pacers weren’t interested in adding 2020 draft picks in pre-deadline deals, since they’re “not enamored by” the 2020 draft class and are in win-now mode, says Michael.
  • Michael adds that “for the foreseeable future, no one is going anywhere,” since the Pacers like their roster.

Opposing Teams Expected To Monitor Pacers, Oladipo

Teams around the NBA are keeping an eye on the situation in Indiana, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv, who notes that Victor Oladipo will be entering a contract year in 2020/21 if he and the Pacers don’t agree to an extension before then.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported in February that the Pacers and Oladipo “very briefly” discussed the possibility of a contract extension prior to the start of the 2019/20 campaign. Sources tell Begley that the idea of a four-year, $80MM extension was brought up during those talks, which didn’t progress much beyond that point.

Technically, since Oladipo had two years left on his current deal prior to this season, an extension couldn’t have exceeded three years, totaling five overall. As such, Begley’s four-year figure may have included the guard’s $21MM salary for 2020/21.

Once the ’20/21 league year begins, Oladipo will once again become extension-eligible and could then tack on up to four new years to his expiring deal. Because the starting salary on a veteran extension is limited to 120% of a player’s previous salary, Oladipo could receive up to $25.2MM in year one, maxing out at about $113MM over four years.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Veteran Contract Extension]

There’s no reason to believe at this point that the Pacers won’t make a strong push to retain Oladipo. It’s worth noting that Indiana has already made long-term commitments of at least $18MM per year to three other players – Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis, and Myles Turner – and that the club had a better record without Oladipo this season (32-20) than with him (7-6). But that sample size was small and the two-time All-Star was coming off a major quad injury that has sidelined him for a full year.

Additionally, while the Pacers don’t have a ton of cap flexibility in future years, they hold Oladipo’s Bird rights and – depending on where the cap lands going forward – could likely stay out of the tax while re-signing him, either to an extension or as an unrestricted free agent in 2021.

Still, as Begley writes, if the 2019/20 season can be resumed, teams around the league figure to be monitoring Oladipo and the Pacers to see how his chemistry with Brogdon and the rest of the team develops.

Central Notes: Pistons, Beasley, S. Brown, Brogdon

The Pistons will enter the NBA offseason looking for upgrades in free agency and James Edwards III of The Athletic examines some restricted free agent options in the upcoming draft.

Malik Beasley is among the possibilities suggested by Edwards, though Detroit may have to overpay if the franchise hopes to land the shooting guard. Beasley came to Minnesota in the Robert Covington deal at the trade deadline and the Wolves have the right to match any offer sheet he receives.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • Sterling Brown is another possible target, Edwards notes in the same piece. Brown has shown flashes in limited minutes for the Bucks and it’s feasible that the 25-year-old could perform better with more run.
  • Malcolm Brogdon was nursing a quad injury prior to the NBA’s hiatus, but Indiana’s prized offseason addition has informed Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard that he’s 100 percent recovered, as Scott Agness of The Athletic tweets.
  • If the season resumes, the Pacers may benefit from a healthy backcourt, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star writes. In addition to Brogdon healing up, Victor Oladipo would have more time to get back to top form. Doug McDermott, who was nursing a big toe injury, has already returned to full health.

Pacers Lift Victor Oladipo’s Minutes Restriction

Pacers star Victor Oladipo will no longer face a minutes restriction, head coach Nate McMillan said today (Twitter link via Bob Kravitz of The Athletic).

Oladipo, who returned to action on January 29 after a year-long recovery from a ruptured quad tendon, initially was limited to 24 minutes per contest. The Pacers bumped that restriction up to 28 minutes about two weeks ago. Going forward, Oladipo has the green light to play more than that, though the team figures to continue being cautious with its star guard, who has appeared in just seven games so far.

McMillan said today that Oladipo will still only play the first half of Indiana’s back-to-back sets, per Kravitz. However, as Scott Agness of The Athletic points out (via Twitter), that shouldn’t be too big a deal, since the Pacers’ schedule only features three more back-to-backs. And obviously, once the postseason begins, that won’t be a concern.

A two-time All-Star, Oladipo has struggled to score efficiently since returning, averaging just 11.1 PPG on .329/.244/.800 shooting. Still, his defense has been solid and the expectation is that the shot will start to fall once he gets a little more comfortable and rediscovers his rhythm.

The Pacers, who currently rank sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 32-23 record, will resume their battle for playoff positioning on Friday when they visit the Knicks in New York.