The New York Knicks could be in the market for Victor Oladipo this offseason, but trading for the two-time All-Star is a high-risk move.
The New York Knicks are keeping their options open as the offseason approaches and for good reason. President Leon Rose is taking over a franchise with a few nice young players, a treasure chest of draft picks, and salary cap flexibility.
That means the Knicks are in a position to trade for a star in the near future if they feel like the juice is worth the squeeze. One such name is Victor Oladipo, who has one year left on his contract with the Indiana Pacers and is reportedly unhappy in his current situation per Jonathan Macri of Knicks Film School. Macri writes:
“Staying in Indiana for a moment, fresh off reports of an unsettled locker room and one Eastern Conference executive betting that the Pacers trade two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo before next season, I heard from a league source that ‘he wants out,’ and that there are whispers of the Knicks being a potential trade partner.”
According to Brandon Robinson of Heavy.com, the Knicks are one of six teams who are currently interested in Oladipo.
Knicks, Suns, Raptors, Nets, Heat & Timberwolves all have interest in Indiana Pacers guard, Victor Oladipo.
Timberwolves’ No. 1 overall pick in 2020 NBA draft not in play, I’m hearing. pic.twitter.com/XE2acd7q27
— 👑 Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson (@ScoopB) August 31, 2020
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, right? It would seem like it. If you were watching Game 3 of Indiana’s first-round series against the Miami Heat, it’s easy to see why reports of Oladipo wanting out are surfacing right now.
After fouling out in the final seconds of the game, Oladipo left the court for the locker room. He didn’t wait for the final buzzer despite the fact that it was a four-point game when he picked up his sixth foul.
The Pacers also just signed Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon to sizable contracts and they don’t appear to be a team keen on going into the luxury tax. Therefore, it’s easy to see why Oladipo’s time in Indiana might be coming to a close.
Does Oladipo Make Sense For The Knicks?
This is going to be a cop-out, but yes and no. At his absolute best, Oladipo is exactly the kind of player who could lead a Tom Thibodeau coached team to prominence. He’s an All-NBA and All-Defense caliber player when he’s healthy.
However, those last three words are the key to this whole equation: “when he’s healthy.”
Oladipo looked like he was on track to become a bonafide superstar after the 2017-18 season. He went toe-to-toe with LeBron James in the first round of the playoffs and pushed those Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games. In that series, the two-guard averaged 22.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 2.4 steals per game. He dropped 30-12-6-3 in a Game 7 loss that nearly went Indiana’s way.
The dude was a flat-out stud.
But a quad injury he suffered in January of 2019 is a big concern here. He’s 19 months removed from that injury and he doesn’t look like the same player. Unfortunately, he may never be that same player ever again.
If the Knicks can buy low on Oladipo and give him a year to prove he’s healthy and capable of being a big-money guy, it wouldn’t be the worst move in the world. Again, the best version of Oladipo is a perfect fit for a Thibs-led team. A defensive-minded guard who can score at all three levels is a good fit for any coach, to be honest.
But if the Knicks are able to buy low on Oladipo, one would have to imagine that a contender might be willing to pay a little bit more. If Miami is willing to step up their offer with picks and a young player or two, they’ll likely beat out the Knicks in the Oladipo sweepstakes.
In reality, he probably makes more sense as a second fiddle to someone like Jimmy Butler rather than the top-dog on a team looking to turn the franchise around. It would be a high-risk, high-reward type move and that makes a lot more sense for a team on the cusp of a championship.
At worst, Miami can cut their losses and go chase another star to pair with Butler in 2021. Despite losing some valuable young pieces and assets, they’ll still have the foundation of a contender with the cap space to put the finishing touches on the roster.
The offseason is still a long way away, but Oladipo seems like a risk too big to take for these Knicks.