The New York Knicks are in rebuild mode and likely won’t make any big splashes – at least not this year – but that is not stopping them from being linked to some interesting names down the road, such as Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo.
The 28-year-old had missed a calendar year with a torn quad tendon in his right leg, and returned to play just 13 games before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Oladipo is set to become a free agent in 2021, and scouts and executives are reportedly wary about signing Oladipo to a big contract due to his injury and only one great season before it. The Pacers will also have a decision to make with money tied to Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner for the next three seasons.
So, when the NBA season returns on July 30 – as currently scheduled – many eyes will be on Oladipo and whether or not he can rebuild his stock.
One Western Conference head coach told Tim Bontemps of ESPN that he believes the Knicks to be one of those teams.
“I think there’s a lot riding on him coming back,” the coach said. “There’s major concerns with these injuries. If Vic comes back and plays well – and he works his ass off, so he could – I think he’s gonna give a reminder to everyone how good he can be.
“If he proves he looks the part, you’re gonna see teams like the Knicks, and other tams trying to build something, try to go get him.”
The Knicks reportedly believe they are more likely to trade for a star than land a free agent, and while Oladipo still has work to do and may not be considered a “star,” he could be a name that appears on the trading block next year.
Of course, there are many different things and scenarios that can play out in the meantime. The Knicks still do not know what position they are even drafting in for this year’s draft – where there appears to be a mutual interest in LaMelo Ball.