Indiana Pacers shooting guard Victor Oladipo is set to be one of the hottest names on the market before the 2021 trade deadline. With their failure to reach an agreement regarding a contract extension, it would be better for the Pacers to move him now than to take the risk of losing him in the 2021 free agency without getting anything in return. Once he becomes officially available on the trading block, several teams that are in dire need of a backcourt boost and additional star power are expected to express a strong interest in acquiring Oladipo, including the reigning NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers.
In a recent article, Greg Patuto of NBA Analysis Network came up with a trade idea for how Oladipo would be able to form the Lakers’ “Big Three” with LeBron James and Anthony Davis in Los Angeles. In the proposed scenario, the Lakers would send a package that includes Dennis Schroder, Alex Caruso, Jared Dudley, and a 2022 first-round pick to the Pacers in exchange for Oladipo.
At first glance, it seems like the Lakers would be giving up too many precious trade assets for a player who could only be a one-year rental. However, if Oladipo proves that he’s 100 percent injury-free and regains his All-Star form, trading Schroder, Caruso, Dudley, and a future first-rounder for him would be worth it for the Lakers.
“The Lakers could use a two-guard who knows how to be aggressive on both ends and score all over the floor. This is what Oladipo is capable of doing. Oladipo is an NBA All-Star caliber player who has had some bad luck in his career. He returned during the postseason down in Orlando and proved that he is ready to play the game at a high-level. Right now, there is no higher level in the league than the Lakers.”
If he could really get back to playing at his 2017-18 season level, Oladipo would be an incredible addition to the Lakers. He would give them a legitimate third star who is a very reliable scoring option, playmaker, rebounder, floor-spacer, and perimeter defender. If things go well in his first season in Los Angeles, there’s a strong chance that he would re-sign with the Purple and Gold in the 2021 free agency.
Meanwhile, if the deal pushed through, it would not only be beneficial for the Lakers but also for the Pacers. In exchange for Oladipo’s expiring contract, they would receive two reliable backcourt reinforcements in Schroder and Caruso, a veteran presence in the locker room in Dudley, and a future draft asset that would enable them to add another young and promising talent to their roster.