I'm old enough to remember when Victor Oladipo was (sort of) going toe-to-toe with LeBron James in a seven-game playoff series. That was two years and one quadriceps tendon rupture ago, though, and the plot has gone awry for the Indiana Pacers guard in recent months.
Oladipo played just 13 games in the 2019-20 season before it was suspended in March; he had The Athletic's scoop-hound Shams Charania report that he would sit out the Orlando restart, before he had even informed the Pacers that this was the case. He then proceeded to come to the bubble anyway, where he played six more regular-season games and featured heavily as the Pacers were swept out of the first round by the Miami Heat. He has yet to return to his explosive pre-injury self, and, reportedly, he is not eager to do so in Indiana.
It happened vs. the Toronto Raptors. It happened vs. the Miami Heat. It happened vs. the New York Knicks.
"Can I come play with y'all?" Or some iteration of that puzzling statement.
That's what Victor Oladipo said -- in front of Indiana Pacers teammates -- increasing the agitation with the star guard in the locker room, three league sources with direct knowledge of the situation told IndyStar. Aaron Turner, Oladipo's agent, didn't respond to requests for comment.
That's as grim as it gets. Any man vocally expressing a desire to play for the New York Knicks in anything even resembling a public setting has hit something far below rock bottom.
Oladipo still has a year on his contract with the Pacers, who can offer him an extension this offseason, and the broad view of his career is basically agnostic as to his value. The bright parts are bright, but they are few. Oladipo could still shape up to be solid three-position defender, but the scoring might have lost its juice, as he posted a career-worst 51-percent true shooting this past regular season. Altogether, a mid-game "Can I come play with y'all?" is an innovative and audacious strategy from a guy with a season and a half of high-quality basketball under his belt, and I wish him all the best with this endeavor, and no, that's nothing, I've just been dicing some onions.