Kevin Pritchard and the Indiana Pacers did it again.
As the executive who pulled off the Paul George trade for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis with minimal leverage, Pritchard knows how to work a deal.
He called into The Dan Dakich Show on Monday and chatted with DD about acquiring Caris LeVert from the Houston Rockets for Oladipo. Although it seemed like Oladipo wanted out of Indiana, Pritchard said he never heard that.
“He never told me he wanted out and neither did his agent,” Pritchard said. “They were pretty concrete in the way they communicated with us saying that his number one priority was to win at the highest level. What that means is a little ambiguous to us because we’re also trying to win at the highest level. I’m not upset with Victor at all and I want him to do well.”
The joy of the trade took a major turn though over the weekend at the team announced that LeVert has a small mass on his left kidney. Pritchard told DD that since the doctors caught it earlier, he fully expects LeVert to make a full recovery.
It was important to the Pacers to give their new star their full attention in getting back on the floor.
But why is this Oladipo saga different than what happened with PG? Pritchard commented that George straight up told the front office he did not want to be here.
“This is a completely different situation from what we’ve had in the past,” Pritchard added. “Paul wanted to be moved. Victor said he wanted to play at the highest level. Does Victor have his sights on other cities? Maybe. We knew we had to beat that. But I wasn’t super confident in the outcome. So now I know I have Caris LeVert for the next two years. I love players like him who improve every year.”
More than anything, the distractions are over.
Winning without having LeVert available will be tough, but the Pacers have shown they can compete. In the NBA, that’s what it comes down to on a night-by-night basis.
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