Despite the positive, excuse me...feathery Instagram posts from Victor Oladipo showing his progress while recovering from a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee, there appears to be little hope the Pacers star will return near the start of the season, let alone at the level of play we’ve come to expect from VO since he arrived in Indy.
That much was apparent when Vic posted pictures of himself sprinting on a football field at far less than 100 percent. Those concerns were further confirmed further by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Tuesday evening during a mock draft special (around 32 min. mark). Woj was selling the positive offseason situation for the Pacers (the mock had Romeo Langford to the Pacers, BTW) considering the cap space and return of Oladipo. However, the “positive” update on Vic was more of a buzzkill for the upcoming season.
”Victor Oladipo, his rehab has gone even better than they could’ve expected,” Woj said. “There’s hope that they could have him back December/January potentially.”
A return in December or January is a good thing? Ugh.
All I heard was Vic will return to the court at some point in the upcoming season but the year is essentially a wash. Admittedly, that may be a little negative, but returning in January means a best-case scenario of Vic not being something close to Vic until after the All-Star break (if he can get close to Vic at all this season).
Without being able to rely on their best player next season, the Pacers front office is in a tricky spot trying to fill out the roster. No need to waste big chunks of the salary cap on players for next season unless they will be around for 3-4 years. Oh, and good luck enticing a free agent worthy of big cash when they know Vic won’t be right in their first year.
It’s also why you don’t consider going after Mike Conley (who went to Utah for a platter of OK players) when he only has two years at tons of money per year since Oladipo won’t be able to fully team up for the first year. Same goes for a guy like Gordon Hayward (similar remaining salary as Conley) should the Celtics come asking about Domas Sabonis.
Trading up for a young talent makes more sense, as does signing short-term vets (again!) but also giving guys like Edmond Sumner and Alize Johnson a chance to sink or swim in the playing rotation.
I’ve been waiting for some type of update on Oladipo heading into the summer silly season, but now I wish I missed that Woj report.