The first game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic will take place Dec. 13, but it's not until Jan. 3 that boos will rain down from the rafters of the Quicken Loans Arena, all directed at Victor Oladipo.
It'll be the first time the rookie shooting guard travels to Cleveland, and his remarks about not wanting to play in the beleaguered sports town should still be fresh in fans' minds.
At an event for Orlando season ticket holders, Oladipo stated, "I really didn't want to go to Cleveland," and his remark was published on the Magic's Twitter feed before being taken down, via Evan Dunlap of the Orlando Pinstriped Post.
Now with that said, Oladipo's remarks may have been taken out of context (something that won't really matter during this era in which teams are constantly searching for billboard fodder).
David Steele, the team's play-by-play announcer, took to Twitter in defense of his team's new rookie stud:
Oladipo echoes the defense on his own account, apologizing to Cavs fans as well:
Sorry to all the cavs fan if I offended them in anyway making the comment I made I didn't mean it the way you all took it.— Victor Oladipo (@VicOladipo) September 13, 2013
It seems like the shooting guard is going to be a refreshingly honest interview throughout his NBA career. He's never been afraid to speak his mind, and we can only cross our fingers and hope that the media doesn't force his hand, making him start to give more generic responses in fear of honesty-induced firestorms.
As Sports Illustrated's Ben Gulliver states, this probably wasn't a direct shot at the city of Cleveland or even the organization itself, which also seems to be what Oladipo is saying in his tweet:
That said, no one should be surprised that Oladipo found the Magic a more amenable destination than the Cavaliers. The sentiment likely has less to do with state taxes, or curses, or weather, and more to do with the fact that Orlando offered him the keys to the car. Meanwhile, Cleveland was offering him, in theory, a spot in the backseat behind incumbents Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, a pair of talented 21-year-old guards who require hefty minutes to continue their own development.
Gulliver is completely correct.
Will Victor Oladipo win Rookie of the Year?
The young Indiana product is in a much better situation to succeed as an individual, even if the Magic's win total will pale in comparison to the Cavs' record. Between Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Jarrett Jack (who presumably would have signed elsewhere following Oladipo's hypothetical arrival on the Cleveland roster), there wouldn't be much playing time for him.
However, Oladipo will be getting loads of playing time and lining up at both guard spots for the Magic. It's just a situation far more conducive to the former Hoosier's Rookie of the Year dreams.
Still, expect the boo-birds to be out in full force the first time the Magic take a trip to Cleveland.