Pacers trading Victor Oladipo to Rockets, acquiring Caris LeVert in multi-team trade
Oladipo's contract expires at the end of the season as LeVert enters his prime.
Exactly three weeks into the season, the Pacers are shaking things up. They have reached agreement to move two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo to the Rockets, league sources confirmed to Fieldhouse Files.
They’ll be receiving guard Caris LeVert and a second-round pick, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, as part of a multi-team trade that includes the Rockets, Nets and Cavaliers.
James Harden is the centerpiece of the trade, dealt to the Nets and teaming up with stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
Oladipo, 28, spent just over three seasons in Indianapolis, acquired in June, 2017 after Paul George requested to be traded. He embraced being a Pacer, worked hard and was voted Most Improved Player in his first season with the team. He was playing at an All-Star level and declared that this was his city.
But it didn’t last long.
He ruptured his right quad tendon on Jan. 23, 2019. Things were never the same between the Pacers and Oladipo, and it was inevitable that they would part ways at the end of this season — a contract year for him.
By trading Oladipo, the Pacers accomplished several goals.
Value in return for a player who would be leaving in free agency
Move under the luxury tax threshold
Now have four starters whose contracts are on the same timeline, running through the 2022-23 season. (T.J. Warren’s is up after the 2021-22 season.)
LeVert, a 6-6 guard, is two years younger than Oladipo and was born nearby in Columbus, Ohio. He attended the University of Michigan and much like Oladipo, worked his way to becoming a starter and a member of a Big Ten regular-season championship.
LeVert, too, was technically first a Pacer. Officially, he was drafted by the Pacers in 2016, although five hours earlier, they agreed to send that pick to the Nets in exchange for veteran forward Thad Young.
In his last game while officially a Pacer, Oladipo did not play but was on the sidelines at Golden State. It was the second night of a back-to-back and he hasn’t played on back-to-back nights since right before his injury. The Pacers won 104-95.
The Pacers did talk with several teams in the offseason about Oladipo, including the Bucks, according to league sources, but nothing came from it.
Now a few weeks into the 2020-21 season, Oladipo has shown teams around the league that he could still play at a high level. He’s averaging 20 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.
“I’m still getting better, getting stronger,” Oladipo said last week. “I’m healed, definitely. I’m feeling good, feeling great playing the game of basketball.”
This all went down while the team was in San Francisco. They’re scheduled to depart for Portland after 6:00 p.m. ET. Oladipo will not be joining the team on the flight, per source.
Oladipo, 28, now exits the stage on an off day, and moves to a bigger market in Houston where he’ll play alongside John Wall and fellow Hoosier Eric Gordon. And become an unrestricted free agent, free to sign anywhere, in the offseason.