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REPORT: Victor Oladipo would prefer to play for the Knicks, among other teams

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He also has interest in other teams, but still.

New York Knicks v Indiana Pacers
“Can I come play with y’all?”
Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

The Pacers have made the playoffs nine times in the last 10 seasons compared to three postseason appearances for the Knicks, yet apparently All-Star guard Victor Oladipo would be interested in leaving Indiana to join New York, according to a report from the Indianapolis Star.

The news comes via J. Michael of the Indy Star, who reported on Thursday that Oladipo was actively campaigning to join other teams during games against those teams last season. According to the report, Oladipo was heard saying something along the lines of “can I come play with y’all?” His Pacers teammates weren’t thrilled.

The franchises named in the piece include the Knicks, the Toronto Raptors and the Miami Heat. The latter two certainly make sense, as they are among the best teams in the East. The Knicks on the other hand, have been among the worst teams in the conference for most of the last 20 years.

Perhaps Oladipo views the young core of the Knicks as an attractive group to join, or maybe he just hates living in Indiana and would prefer to live in a city like Toronto, Miami or New York. Either way, it’s nice to know there’s an All-Star who hasn’t completely ruled out playing for the Knicks.

It’s no surprise to hear that Oladipo wants out, as there have been reports of his unhappiness in Indiana for months. But previously, the reports simply noted that he’s looking for the “most money possible” and would prefer a contender. Does he think his presence alone would make the Knicks a contender?

As we discussed back in September, Oladipo returned this year from a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee suffered during the 2018-19 season, and his stats show a player still trying to get back into a groove. He’s owed $21 million next season, and after that will become a 29-year-old unrestricted free agent. Giving a max contract to Oladipo would be a risky gambit, although at the same time it would be nice, in theory, to have a player of his caliber on the squad.

In October, Marc Berman of the New York Post reported that Oladpio would be a higher priority for Leon Rose than Chris Paul. Scott Perry, who drafted Oladipo while working for the Orlando Magic in 2013, could play an instrumental role in New York’s pursuit.

According to Berman, “one NBA personnel man” said that a potential Oladipo trade could see the Knicks giving up both first round picks received from Dallas in the Kristaps Porzingis trade (2021 and 2023), plus Julius Randle and either Dennis Smith Jr. or Frank Ntilikina. Do we hate that trade if DSJ is the piece being traded instead of Ntilikina? Not necessarily.

Still, to be honest, the Knicks should proceed with caution, even if Oladipo has the Knicks on a shortlist of teams he’d like to play for. Ruptured quad tendons are no fun, no matter who you are. Charles Barkley’s career ended when he ruptured his left quad at 36-years-old. Tony Parker ruptured his left quad in 2017, when he was 34, and was out of the league two years later. Demarcus Cousins still hasn’t been seen on the court since tearing his left quad during Game 2 of the 2019 NBA Finals.

Even if the Knicks ultimately shouldn’t pull the trigger on a deal, the fact that Oladipo outright asked the Knicks whether he could join them during a game last season suggests that New York’s stay in the Hell Hotel doesn’t need to be endless. A single player, if they are the right player, could completely change the course of the franchise.

By the way, that player is not Russell Westbrook.