Latest Buzz on Victor Oladipo Trade, Andrew Wiggins' Warriors Future

Martin FennContributor IIIMay 16, 2020

Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (4) reacts to making a shot late in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics in an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
AJ MAST/Associated Press

The 2019-20 NBA season was supposed to feature a triumphant comeback story for Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo.

Oladipo suffered a ruptured quad tendon in January 2019 and worked his way back into the starting lineup after 12 months of rehab. The 28-year-old made his return January 29 against the Chicago Bulls. However, he struggled to regain the form that made him in All-Star in 2018 and 2019.

The guard played 13 games prior to the suspension of play because of the coronavirus pandemic, averaging 13.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists while shooting below 40 percent from the field and just 30 percent from beyond the arc. Naturally, he was going to need time to round into form, which he didn't get.

It is unfortunate for Oladipo because he moves into the final year of his contract next season. Before the injury, it would have been a foregone conclusion the Pacers would offer him an extension. However, Oladipo's small sample size was hardly the most encouraging entering a walk year.

Still, it does not appear the Pacers are entertaining the idea of moving Oladipo, as J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star reported sources have said Oladipo is "not going anywhere."

Michael said Oladipo has an "'open door' relationship with president Kevin Pritchard and general manager Chad Buchanan," adding that the guard has enjoyed his time in Indiana and would like to remain with the team for foreseeable future.

Although Michael reported Oladipo stands to make more money once he reaches free agency than he would by signing an extension, there is an "understanding" of how the two sides will proceed, a sign there is good faith between the Pacers and the player's camp.

Oladipo is still in the early stages of his prime, and he was blossoming as one of the top two-way combo guards in the league prior to suffering the injury.

The Pacers could also elect to let Oladipo walk if he fails to get back on track. Either way, there does not appear to be any rush in determining his future.


Warriors Never Hoped to 'Flip' Andrew Wiggins

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press


The Golden State Warriors went bold last offseason.

Though former Dubs star Kevin Durant signed with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency, the Warriors orchestrated a sign-and-trade to land former Nets guard D'Angelo Russell. Golden State hoped Russell could play a combo guard role alongside Stephen Curry in place of the injured Klay Thompson.

Instead, Curry suffered a broken left hand in the fourth game of the season, and Golden State's season went right in the gutter.

Rather than trying to make something out of nothing, the Warriors acted quickly to plan for the future. They traded Russell to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for small forward Andrew Wiggins, who failed to live up to the hype he seemed to promise when he was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in 2014.

The question became, was Wiggins in the Warriors' long-term plans? Or was the trade executed with the hopes they could move off his salary?

Anthony Slater of The Athletic reported Golden State "got Wiggins with the expectation that he'll be their starting small forward next season, not just a matching contract to flip (like they did with Russell)."

Wiggins does seem to be a better fit for the Warriors than Russell as they build for next year. Whereas retaining the latter would have forced the Warriors to move Thompson to small forward, acquiring Wiggins allows them to keep Thompson at the shooting guard spot, with the possibility Wiggins also sees minutes at the 2.

Moreover, Wiggins is less ball-dominant than Russell. He is the kind of third scorer who could thrive alongside Curry and Thompson. Wiggins has traditionally struggled to shoot the three-ball (33 percent for his career), but he should benefit from added spacing and a roster with more scoring options.

In many ways, the Warriors might hope Wiggins can become the sort of player Harrison Barnes was for the Dubs. The 25-year-old is hardly the same kind of defender as Barnes, but he is an athletic swingman who can guard multiple positions and moves well off the ball.

Wiggins cannot afford to keep settling for contested mid-range jumpers. But if he embraces his role as a floor-spacer and off-ball cutter, he could be an optimal fit in Golden State.


All stats obtained via Basketball Reference.