Victor Oladipo was eager to get out of Indianapolis last season.
So much so, apparently, that the Pacers star would frequently ask opposing players if he could come play with them during games — even if his own teammates were around.
It happened vs. the Toronto Raptors. It happened vs. the Miami Heat. It happened vs. the New York Knicks.
“Can I come play with y’all?” Or some iteration of that puzzling statement.
That’s what Victor Oladipo said — in front of Indiana Pacers teammates — increasing the agitation with the star guard in the locker room, three league sources with direct knowledge of the situation told IndyStar.
Oladipo denied that he had been asking for a trade on Friday, and said he’s excited to play for new coach Nate Bjorkgren.
“I know there have been people saying that I have asked players to trade for me. That’s just not true, period,” Oladipo told The Athletic’s Shams Charania. “I love my teammates, I cherish the state of Indiana and I’m focused on leading this franchise to a title.”
Victor Oladipo headed for free agency in 2021
Oladipo played in just 19 games for the Pacers last season and returned to the floor just 13 games before the NBA suspended its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic while recovering from a quad injury he suffered the year prior.
The 28-year-old averaged 14.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, though he nearly didn’t go with the Pacers down to Florida to finish the season in a bubble — initially deciding to opt out of the season before changing his mind at the last minute.
Oladipo has one year left on his four-year, $85 million deal, and is up for an extension this year before he hits free agency next year. The NBA is set to kick off its 72-game season on Dec. 22.
Now, Oladipo may not feel the urgency to get out of Indiana like he once used to. It’s not clear when exactly he made those comments. But if your star point guard is asking others to help him escape — joking or not — you’d want to do something about that sooner rather than later.
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