I truly believed that I could be a significant attribution to a team, Oladipo said. I felt like I had the ability, but I had to put in the work to get that ability out of me.
It would be tempting for the Pacers to gloat over Oladipo’s rise. The organization took a blitz of bad publicity when trading away star forward Paul George last summer, with Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis as the only return. Sabonis has played above expectations, but Oladipo has shattered what had appeared to be his ceiling over the first four years of his career.
But the Pacers are treading carefully, with good reason. The Eastern Conference All-Star team, in recent years, has been littered with players who quickly fade back into mediocrity after making their showing on the team �� the Pacers should know because center Roy Hibbert was one of those players. Guards like Jeff Teague, Jrue Holiday and Kyle Korver are other examples.
There are going to be a lot of superstars here, and that was always my focus. I would come and see people, and say, ‘Oh s��, Jack (Nicholson is) here? Denzel (Washington is) here? Give me the ball. Let me go to work.’ Those guys should do that.
But those guys don’t play for the two LA teams. Not yet, at least. If there was a highlight for the local fan base this weekend, it comes mostly from hopes and dreams, from free-agent fantasies.
No event, though, was bigger than the trade which saw the Cavs do what no one thought they would when the season started: they showed Isaiah Thomas the door.
Cleveland traded Thomas, Channing Frye and their 2018 first-round pick to the Lakers for guard Jordan Clarkson and forward Larry Nance Jr.. It was a win-win for both teams as the Cavs got two players who can contribute now which helps James’ push for a title, and will help Cleveland in the future as both men are under contract for two more seasons.
In the process the Lakers acquired two players whose contracts expire at the end of the season, which helps them as they will be active this offseason and the next in the free-agent market. They also received a first-round pick as well which they thought they would not be able to get in return for Clarkson considering his contract.