Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo could become an interesting commercial target this low season depending on how he plays when the NBA restarts in July.
“I think there’s a lot to be done about returning,” Tim Bontemps’ Western Conference coach told ESPN. “There are great concerns about these injuries. If Vic comes back and plays well – and he does well, he could – I think he will give everyone a reminder of how good he can be.
“If it shows that it looks like the part, you’ll see teams like the Knicks and other teams trying to build something, try going to get it.”
Oladipo has lost more than a year due to a torn quadruple tendon and has only played 13 games this season before the season was suspended in March. The four-month gap could help him return to his All-Star form twice.
Otherwise, there will be a lot of uncertainty with only one season remaining on his contract.
The 28-year-old is set to earn $ 21 million in 2020-21 for Spotrac. Although it may benefit from an extension this low season, the team has already made long-term commitments with Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. Each player will earn at least $ 18 million over the next three years.
Teams could also be forced to make financial adjustments in the upcoming off-season due to past season’s losses. ESPN’s Bobby Marks previously reported that the salary limit could drop by $ 25-30 million.
A long-term deal for Oladipo would be a significant risk considering his limited trait as an elite player.
“The difficult thing for me with Oladipo is that this guy has had a relatively long career and had a year at the All-NBA level and is really the only All-Star level [year he has had],” he said an executive from the Eastern Conference, for Bontemps.
The second pick of 2013 was the most improved player in the NBA in 2017-18, when he went from an average of 15.9 points per game to 23.1 points per game in his first year with Indiana. He earned his first All-Star selection and ended the year All-Defense in the first team and All-NBA in the third team.
He was not as dominant in the following season, averaging 18.8 points per game as he struggled with his efficiency, although he was once again named All-Star before hurting his leg.
When the guard returned to the field in 2019-2020, he averaged 13.8 points per game, making 39.1 percent of his career shots, including 30.4 percent from three points.
Despite the question marks, a team like the New York Knicks could see its positive side as a franchise player acquired at a relatively low cost.