Victor Oladipo Rumors: Insiders Expect Star to Sign Long-Term Pacers Contract

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 7:  Victor Oladipo #4 of the Indiana Pacers looks on against the Toronto Raptors on FEBRUARY 7, 2020 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Many NBA insiders expect Indiana Pacers shooting guard Victor Oladipo to sign a long-term contract extension with the team before his contract ends after the 2020-21 season.

ESPN's Tim Bontemps reported the news Wednesday while also noting Oladipo could land on the trade block before next season's deadline if contract talks don't progress.

The two-time All-Star didn't make his season debut until late January while completing his recovery from a ruptured quad tendon suffered last season. He's averaged 11.1 points, 2.9 assists and 2.0 rebounds across seven appearances (four starts).

Indiana is ready to remove his minutes restriction following the All-Star break, however, and Oladipo said his mindset is "being a killer," though he added "not literally."

"The goal here is to win a championship," he told reporters. "That's my goal. I know that's this team's goal. Why even play if you're not trying to do that? You want to play for fun? You can play for fun in the rec league. Obviously, it's a fun game to play, but it's about winning. That's how you're defined, that's how you leave your legacy. I'm trying to leave mine for generations to come."

A healthy Oladipo is a legitimate franchise cornerstone. He ranked sixth among all NBA players in ESPN's Real Plus-Minus during the 2017-18 season before the quad injury shortened his last two campaigns.

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The Pacers likely want to see the 27-year-old Maryland native get back to that level before coming to terms on another lucrative contract extension. He's currently in the third season of a four-year, $85 million deal he signed in October 2016 with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Indiana was able to navigate his absence well. It sits in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with a 32-23 record, and the team is a threat to move up with Oladipo under no restrictions.

Ideally for the Pacers, the guard looks like his old self during the stretch run of the regular season and helps the team at least advance one round in the playoffs. That would allow both sides to enter extension talks in the offseason from a position of more confidence.

The longer he goes without a new deal, however, the higher the chances the front office will at least have to consider a trade so he's not lost to free agency without some type of return in 2021.