For the second straight year, the Milwaukee Bucks finished with the best regular-season record in the NBA, and for the second straight year, they failed to make it out of the Eastern Conference. Last season they lost to the Toronto Raptors in six games in the conference finals. In the Bubble, they didn’t even make it that far as they were knocked out by the Miami Heat in five games in the semifinals.
After falling well short of expectations again, the Bucks could be looking to make some major roster changes this summer, and one player that they are looking at is Pacers guard Victor Oladipo, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe. Despite the interest, no talks have taken place between the two teams.
The Bucks are also eyeing Indiana’s Victor Oladipo, though no substantive talks with the Pacers have taken place, sources say. Other teams are monitoring the Oladipo situation, but several of them would like to see Oladipo in action before engaging Indiana, sources say.
Oladipo has struggled since his leg injury in January 2019, but he’s only 28 and two years removed from an All-NBA season — and on an expiring contract, which might deflate his trade value. If you don’t give up too much now, letting Oladipo walk after the season (in the worst case) doesn’t kill you. If Oladipo recovers 90% of peak form, any team that trades for him has a leg up on re-signing him (or extending him) through his prime.
There have been rumblings that Oladipo wants out of Indiana, but the All-Star guard recently denied those rumors. But even if Oladipo doesn’t necessarily want to be traded out of Indiana, that doesn’t mean that the Pacers won’t still look to move him. Oladipo is set for unrestricted free agency in 202. If the two sides don’t agree on an extension, and the Pacers don’t feel like he’s going to re-sign in free agency, they might want to trade him for a return before losing him for nothing in free agency. If the Pacers do make him available, the Bucks could move in. The question would then turn to what they would give up in a deal. Again, from Lowe:
The broader issue is what Milwaukee can offer for Oladipo (or Jrue Holiday) — something like Eric Bledsoe, Donte DiVincenzo, filler salary, and an extra first-round pick (or two) that will be low if Antetokounmpo stays. Bledsoe’s trade value has cratered. The Pacers are probably not in any hurry to reunite the Malcolm Brogdon/Bledsoe backcourt; would Milwaukee have to find a three-team deal sending Bledsoe elsewhere?
The Bucks could sweeten the pot by trading lightly protected first-rounders further out — picks that could become valuable (dangerously so from Milwaukee’s perspective) if Antetokounmpo leaves.
Other teams are also reportedly interested in Oladipo, but Lowe noted that many want to see him in game action again before making a move, given the fact that he is coming off of an injury-plagued campaign. Lowe mentioned the Knicks as a team that had previous interest in Oladipo, while the 76ers could also have some interest. Overall, if the Pacers do make Oladipo available, it’s likely that many teams will inquire given the fact that he is a two-time All-Star and still just 28 years old.