As trade rumors continue to swirl, Victor Oladipo is going viral after wearing Los Angeles Lakers gear in recent social media posts. NBA insider Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson posted a photo of Oladipo decked out in both a Lakers jersey and shorts.
Earlier this week, Oladipo was rocking another Lakers jersey on Snapchat. The photos have caused some Lakers fans to wonder if the team could look to make a deal for the star guard at the trade deadline. Oladipo’s $21 million salary makes it nearly impossible for the Lakers to land him in a trade.
Wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey hardly means Oladipo is headed to Los Angeles, but it does show the guard has at least a small affinity for the organization. Since being traded to the Rockets, Oladipo is averaging 19.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists but is shooting just over 31 percent from behind the arc in his 15 starts.
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Oladipo Has Been Linked to the Heat & Knicks
Two teams that emerged as potential candidates for Oladipo are the Heat and Knicks. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst recently noted on the Hoop Collective podcast that it is widely known around the NBA that his preference is to sign with the Heat in free agency.
“I don’t think it’s any secret in the league Victor Oladipo has a desire to play in Miami,” Windhorst noted, via Hoops Hype. “He’d like to go there in free agency. They’re going to have cap space, so that may happen.”
It remains to be seen whether the Heat are willing to give up any assets in a trade or will instead wait until the summer to make a push for Oladipo. New York Post’s Marc Berman reported the Knicks are interested in making a deal with the Rockets for the guard.
“Oladipo, however, remains in play for the Knicks as the Rockets are expected to trade him at the deadline as they slide into oblivion,” Berman explained. “Oladipo will be a free agent in 2021 and reportedly wants to sign with the Heat. That would make Oladipo a rental as the Knicks look to boost their bid to snap a seven-year playoff drought.”
Oladipo Turned Down a Contract Extension From the Rockets & Is Headed to Free Agency
Even if Oladipo is traded, the two-time All-Star guard is headed to free agency this summer. Oladipo turned down a two-year, $45.2 million contract extension from the Rockets earlier this season, per Yahoo Sports’ Ben DuBose.
“That actually wasn’t yesterday. That was a long time ago,” Oladipo explained, per Yahoo Sports. “They came at me with the offer. It was more along the lines of, ‘We know you’re not going to accept it, but we still want you to understand that we want you here.’ It was more that gesture, than anything. Didn’t go out of my way to ask, or anything like that. It was just kind of put in front of me, or given to me, to show that they want me to be here.”
The Lakers have their own salary cap gymnastics they have to go through which potentially includes a $100 million luxury tax bill next season, per Windhorst. This makes a Lakers’ run at Oladipo improbable as they look to retain their own key free agents such as Alex Caruso or Talen Horton-Tucker.
That said, this is a new NBA era as we saw with James Harden forcing his way to Brooklyn. If Oladipo ends up targeting the Lakers and the feeling is mutual, there is always the faint possibility a sign-and-trade could be worked out. For now, the only Lakers jersey Oladipo is likely to be wearing is the one in his social media posts.