DALLAS - On the long list of "wish list'' names for Dallas Mavericks fans is that of Victor Oladipo, in part because of the hope that as with an even more lustrous star, Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee, he ends up being unhappy with his present employer in Indiana.
And one news outlet is stating that "unhappiness'' as a fact.
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First, we have to acknowledge that Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard obviously has other plans.
"Victor and I have a good dialogue," Pritchard told reporters after the Pacers were once again ousted early in the NBA Playoffs, once again via a sweep ... this time with Oladipo's level of commitment in question.
The two-time All-Star guard is entering the final year of his deal and while he could come to terms on a four-year extension with the Pacers before 2020-21 starts, indications are he will wait to make any commitments until he is unrestricted next summer.
"I'm not really worried about that right now," he said. "I'm just focused on making sure I get my knee right, get fully strong, get my health where it needs to be. I'll worry about all that when the time comes."
In the meantime, the end of this season for Oladipo was shrouded in some controversy because he was non-committal to joining his teammates in the Orlando bubble until the last minute ... and then came another sweep.
Logic suggests that eventually, Oladipo, who is entering his eighth season with his third different team but has never advanced to the second round of the playoffs, would like to toil for a contender.
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"Like Dallas?'' we naturally ask?
Like Indy, Pritchard naturally answers.
"I'm hopeful that we can create an environment that he feels good about, that he feels like he can win," Pritchard said. "He's been pretty consistent in saying the most important for him is that he can win. I believe we can have a team that can do some good things in the playoffs."
Oladipo has been a 23-points-per-game scorer in the NBA and like Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings and others we've speculated about in this space, would be a fine member of a Big 3 teaming with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. In some of the Mavs' explorations of this sort of piece, it'll be about a "Nuclear Winter'' - a team tired of paying big money to a player with the group going nowhere.
The 6-11 Turner, 24 and a DFW guy, just happens to be a player that Dallas coach Rick Carlisle has raved about.
“He’s the future of the 5-position in the NBA,” said Carlisle during the regular season when Dallas was tangling with Indy on the court. “A guy that can roll and finish above the rim. Half-roll and make plays. He can shoot mid-range and he can shoot long -ange. And he can drive the ball. He’s got the whole skill-set and he’s still very young.”
How to pry players like this loose? The devil is in the details, and in the contracts, too. Turner has three years left on his contract, so as with Oladipo, they aren't just free to roam.
"We don't feel any rush to make any quick decision on Victor,'' Pritchard said. "We have him for another year. It will be up to him. He will have the choice. It's his first time to have an autonomous choice. He can go and do whatever he wants."
In the NBA, though, players tend to "go and do whatever they want'' regardless of contractual status. The Pacers parting with this pair would be a basketball earthquake in Indy ... but it starts with the players themselves rumbling and grumbling.