Victor Oladipo has had some tough luck to start his NBA career. He went 2nd overall to the Orlando Magic but struggled to establish himself at either guard spot. He started to play well for the Oklahoma City Thunder and was traded to the Indiana Pacers, where he blossomed before suffering two career-threatening injuries.
When healthy, it’s pretty clear that Oladipo is a difference-maker, a talented, athletic, smart two-way combo guard that could help any contending team take a step forward.
However, there are serious concerns regarding his ability to stay healthy. Also, he’s reportedly lost laterally quickness after those two injuries and more importantly, his desire to extend his contract with the Pacers.
So, with that in mind, Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report put together a trade package that would send the former 2nd overall pick to the Los Angeles Lakers this summer in change for Danny Green, Kyle Kuzma, Talen Horton-Tucker, and a 2020 first-round pick:
“Between Oladipo’s injuries and contract uncertainty, Indiana could encounter a more tepid market than his pedigree would suggest. This might scratch enough itches for the Pacers to accept. Kuzma is the crown jewel as a 24-year-old who has already displayed a powerful scoring punch. His game could be a snug fit alongside either Myles Turner or Domantas Sabonis, allowing Indy to trade the other to balance the roster. Green’s three-and-D game fits with anyone, so the Pacers can keep him to compete next season or see what the market would offer for him and his expiring $15.4 million contract ahead of 2021 free agency,” Buckley reported.
This trade would make a lot of sense for the Lakers. Their title window may close sooner than expected if Anthony Davis signs a short-term deal that fits LeBron James’ timeline. Adding Oladipo to the mix would help them right away and give them another potential franchise player in case both James and Davis leave the team.
The Pacers, on the other hand, don’t seem 100% convinced on Oladipo as their guy going forward after Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner meshed so well together, so they would be glad to take whatever they can for him, and this would be a great return.
Needless to say, this is all hypothetical at this point but both Oladipo and Kuzma have been rumored to be on the trading block, so we’ll have to follow those stories pretty closely in the upcoming months.