The Indiana Pacers' season came to a disappointing end in the bubble when they were swept by the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. Admittedly, that defeat doesn't seem as bad given what Miami has done in the weeks since, but a fourth straight first-round exit was enough to cost coach Nate McMillan his job.
With the Finals now underway, and most teams turning their attention to offseason activities, could there be more changes in store in the Hoosier state? Two of the Pacers' best players, Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner, could be on the move, according to multiple reports from Jared Weiss of The Athletic and J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star.
But let Oladipo tell it, that's not happening. In a recent interview with rapper Fat Joe on Instagram -- modern media is so cool -- Oladipo addressed those rumors:
"I'm a Pacer, man I'm a Pacer, dawg. I'm a Pacer. I can't control the rumors, man. ... All of the ones on the internet, I don't even know where they come from. I'm just in the background, working out, working on my knee, trying to get right for next year."
Situations like this one are always a bit tricky. Oladipo is the player involved here, so we can't just ignore his comments on the matter. At the same time, it's extremely unlikely he's going to come out and say he wants to get traded, and when you have reports from multiple outlets suggesting a move could be possible, there's often something there.
That doesn't mean that a move is imminent, or Oladipo is forcing his way out. It might just be something the Pacers have discussed internally, or perhaps they've fielded calls from other teams. Whatever's going on, there's enough smoke that it's worth keeping an eye on this situation over the next few months.
Oladipo blossomed into a star with the Pacers, making an All-NBA team and winning Most Improved Player in 2018, and going to the All-Star Game in 2018 and 2019. Following the 2018 playoffs, when they took LeBron James and the Cavaliers to seven games in the first round, the Pacers appeared to be a team on the rise.
Then, Oladipo tore his quad tendon in the middle of the 2018-19 season, and the Pacers have stagnated. After missing over an entire year, Oladipo returned to the floor in late January but was only able to play in a handful of games before the coronavirus pandemic stopped the season. He was initially going to skip the bubble to continue strengthening his knee but decided to join the team in Orlando.
Despite being 100 percent healthy, he never looked quite right, before or after the shutdown. Given his struggles with returning from injury and the fact that he's about to enter the last year of his contract, it makes sense why there are some whispers about his future with the Pacers.