INDIANAPOLIS – It’s looking more and more like Victor Oladipo will enter the 2020-21 season without a contract extension from the Pacers and uncommitted to wanting to remain in Indiana long-term.
Oladipo, along with the rest of the Pacers, are back in Indiana as the start of training camp is (amazingly) here for the NBA starting another season.
Tuesday was a virtual media day for the Pacers, with Oladipo meeting the media for the first time since August, when Indiana’s season ended in the Orlando bubble.
Here are some highlights from what the 28-year-old Oladipo had to say as he begins his 8th NBA season with one year left on his contract:
-On the reports of him wanting to play elsewhere: “I was told not to engage in nonsense. I never came out and said I didn’t want to play for the Pacers or be in this organization. I’m focused on the here and now. I love the coaching staff. I’m familiar with Calbert (Cheaney) so it’s great to see him here. I’m familiar with most of the guys from around the league, so it’s great people. I’m feeling better. Guys look better. Guys look healthy. So I’m looking forward to the season. All of the stuff, I can’t control what they say, what they right, what they do. I’m just focused on me, improvement, focused on the team, being the best version of myself so I can help this team, help this organization and this city to win a championship.”
-On if he thinks he’ll remain in Indiana long-term: “It’s out of my control. Just focused on the here and now. The business side of things really don’t matter right now. I don’t really have to go in on that. I’m just focused on myself, but most important focused on my team, my teammates, focused on my coaching staff, learning a new system and competing on the highest level, being healthy. Those are the things that really matter right now. That’s what I’m focused on.”
–On if he wants to be in Indiana long-term: “At the end of the day, that’s pretty much out of my control. I’m focused on the here and now and committed to now. That’s essentially all that matters, that I’m committed to being here with this team, this coaching staff, this coach. I’m here to win a championship. Whenever anything else happens after that, we’ll handle that when that time comes. Right now, I’m focused on right now. To say that I don’t want to be here is crazy because I’ve never said that. This is Indiana basketball. It speaks for itself. I have no control over the future. I don’t know what the future brings. I didn’t know I was going to tear my quad, so it was hard to prepare for that, if that’s a great example for you. It’s hard to say and prepare for something I have no control over. Right now is all that matters and that’s all I’m focused on. I’m focused on being the best Victor Oladipo possible, and try to help this team win a championship.”
-On if there’s a contract extension from the Pacers on the table: “Um, not that I’m aware of (laughs). Again, I think they are on the same page with that. We are just focused on the here and now. Focused on this season and trying to do something special now. At the end of the day, all that other stuff, when it comes time to do business, I’m going to do the best business move that I think is best for me. For now, I’m just focused on being here and focused on being an Indiana Pacer because that’s what I am. I’m a Pacer and I’m going to focus on being the best version of myself so I can help this team win, focused on these teammates, on this coaching staff, on this organization and winning a championship. That’s the only thing that matters.”
-On electing not to address the reported news of him telling other players that he wanted to play elsewhere: “It was very difficult, especially when the things said about you are negative. I’ve been in the league for 8 years now and this was the first time that anyone has accused me of anything like this. It’s very interesting to me. At the end of the day, I can’t let none of this stuff that I can’t control, make me lose focus of what really matters. That’s this team, my teammates, this organization and making sure that I’m healthy. It was tough watching obviously but you have to put your emotions aside and just focus on what truly matters. That’s what I’m focused on doing.”
-On Oladipo saying he feels drastically better physically since the bubble: “I don’t know how to explain it, but when you feel better, you just play better. It’s like they say when you cut your hair. When you look good, you play good. Well, when I feel stronger, I’m going to play better. I feel better. Certain movements feel better. It’s hard to just gauge and pinpoint one thing or one variable, but everything in general just feels better than it did before. I just have to keep getting stronger, keep improving and I’ll feel all the way right in no time. I feel great now, but there’s always room for improvement.”
-On new head coach Nate Bjorkgren visiting Oladipo during the offseason: “Coach is amazing. Coach is great. His energy is amazing. He came to visit me at my workouts and was there for 48 hours. It was a great experience. We really clicked. He’s really smart. He sees the game differently. The style of play is going to be different. We are going to play hard, just like Pacer basketball. But I’m guessing it’s going to be a new feel to it. I’m looking forward to it, getting started. It’s kind of weird with corona and we’ve got to ease our way into it. I’m looking forward to all of us getting on the court, competing, working together to do something bigger than ourselves.”
-On the style Bjorkgren will have the Pacers play: “I’m not sure. I’m guessing play a little faster, maybe shoot more threes. But it’s new to me, just like it is to you’ll. I’m looking forward to training camp and getting everybody on the court and see what it feels like, what it looks like. I’m looking forward to that.”
-On Oladipo’s chemistry with Malcolm Brogdon last season: “I felt like we were in a great place, but obviously it was a weird situation. I didn’t start the year off, then coming back, trying to adjust with a minutes restriction and then coming to the bubble and having a minutes restriction again, trying to figure it all out at once in the playoffs. It’s tough to do. We are both really excited about this year. We are both really looking forward to what coach has in store and we are looking forward to seeing what this team has in store. He’s aware of what I just told you being that we didn’t really get a lot of time together. We are looking forward to actually having this experience, sharing the floor and doing something special here.”
-On the Pacers returning their starting lineup: “It’s a different kind of feel around here, because we get an opportunity to play full throttle and go into a season full throttle, knock on wood, God willing. We are excited about it and you can tell everyone is. We have the opportunity here to do something really special this year. From top to bottom, I know everyone can feel it.”