Victor Oladipo Trade Rumors: Price 'Not Really That High'; Knicks, Pistons Eying

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2021

Houston Rockets' Victor Oladipo drives in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Multiple teams have reportedly expressed interest in acquiring guard Victor Oladipo from the Houston Rockets before Thursday's NBA trade deadline.

Appearing Sunday on SportsCenter, ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst said the price is "not really that high right now" on Oladipo, although the Rockets are hoping to get a first-round pick in return for him.

He noted the New York Knicks are in on Oladipo as are the Detroit Pistons, who Windhorst referred to as a surprise team since they are currently last in the Eastern Conference at 12-29.

The Rockets acquired Oladipo this season as part of the four-team trade that sent James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets, but it comes as no surprise that they want to unload him for future assets in his contract year since Houston is 14th in the Western Conference at 11-29.

On the heels of injury-plagued seasons in 2018-19 and 2019-20, the 28-year-old Oladipo has bounced back this season and is putting up some of the best numbers of his career.

In 28 games split between the Rockets and Indiana Pacers, Oladipo is averaging 20.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.3 steals.

That marks his best production since putting up 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.4 steals per game in 2017-18, which was his first of two All-Star campaigns.

New York makes a lot of sense as a potential landing spot given that the Knicks are sixth in the Eastern Conference at 21-21 and on the verge of reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2012-13.

The Knicks have some solid backcourt depth with Derrick Rose, Elfrid Payton, Immanuel Quickley and Frank Ntilikina in the mix, but there is no clear, take-charge playmaker among them.

Earlier this month, Marc Berman of the New York Post reported that the Knicks were unsure if there was a "surefire starting point guard" on the roster.

Oladipo is more of a combo guard, but he is comfortable with distributing the ball, and acquiring him would take some pressure off All-Star forward Julius Randle, who leads the team with 6.0 assists per game.

Detroit would undoubtedly be a more surprising destination for Oladipo, but it makes sense why the Pistons might covet a player with his skill set.

Like the Knicks, the Pistons are lacking a go-to ball-handler in the backcourt. Delon Wright leads the team with 5.1 assists per game, while rookie Killian Hayes and former Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. are still finding their way.

Trading for Oladipo would be a risk since he could leave in free agency during the offseason, but Detroit would be banking on the idea that he enjoys playing there so much he re-signs with the team.

It is difficult to envision the Pistons parting with their 2021 first-round pick since it figures to be among the top selections in the draft, but since the Knicks own their own first-round pick as well as the Dallas Mavericks' first-round pick in 2021, they may have the most ammunition to land Oladipo.