Victor Oladipo is doing his best to quiet the trade buzz.
The star guard insisted he is committed to the Pacers and denied a recent report from the Indianapolis Star that said he asked at least three opposing teams — including the Knicks — last season, “Can I come play with y’all?”
“I know there have been people saying that I have asked players to trade for me. That’s just not true, period,” Oladipo told The Athletic. “I love my teammates, I cherish the state of Indiana and I’m focused on leading this franchise to a title.”
Oladipo has informed the Pacers that he is “fully committed” to the franchise and its direction, The Athletic reported. The 28-year-old also told the outlet he was excited to play under new head coach Nate Bjorkgren, with whom he has had “positive dialogue” recently.
It remains to be seen how long that commitment will last, though, as Oladipo has one year left on his four-year, $85 million contract and is not expected to consider an extension during this uncertain offseason, according to The Athletic.
Oladipo’s comments are also reminiscent of ones Paul George made back in the summer of 2017, when he too had one year left on his contract and rumors swirled of him wanting to play in Los Angeles. About a month before he was traded to the Thunder, George claimed “of course” he wanted to stay with the Pacers.
“What I’ve always been preaching, more so than you see now, is having guys I can win with,” George said in June of 2017. “Wanting to win, it came from the heart and it’s very sincere on wanting to bring that to Indiana. That’s where my heart is going to always be at. … It’s all about trying to bring a championship to Indiana.”
Oladipo ruptured his quadriceps tendon in January of 2019 — in the midst of his second All-Star campaign — but came back a year later and averaged 14.5 points on 39.4 percent shooting. He and the Pacers made the playoffs, but got swept by the Heat in the first round.