In 2017-18, Victor Oladipo — just traded to Indiana as part of the Paul George deal — had a breakout season, playing at an All-NBA level. He looked like a max player, a franchise cornerstone, worth every penny of a four-year, $84 million contract he had just signed.
This season, coming back from a ruptured quadriceps tendon, he played in just 19 games and, while there were strong stretches, he has a long way to go to get back to his peak form again.
Oladipo is entering the final year of that massive contract. According to a front office source who spoke to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, Oladipo is “looking for a max deal” with his next contract.
Two quick thoughts here.
First, of course Oladipo wants a max contract. Every player wants one. But unless next season Oladipo bounces back to his pre-injury form, no team will offer that much, and even then he might not get it. Oladipo is playing for his next contract next season.
Second, his contract expectations could impact his trade value — Indiana is listening to offers for Oladipo, according to multiple reports (and there have been reports Oladipo wants out of Indiana, although he denies it). The Lakers and Knicks are often mentioned, and Pincus makes a case for a trade to Boston (for Gordon Hayward, a swap of guys not living up to their contracts due to injuries). Whatever team trades for him will want to re-sign him, not just use him as a one-year rental, and if he’s going to ask for the moon in 2021 it could give teams pause.
It’s going to be a critical year for Oladipo, especially if he’s thinking of another big contract.