“Rising up, I used to be all the time taught to not have interaction in nonsense,” Oladipo mentioned. “I by no means have. I by no means got here out and mentioned that I did not wish to play for the Pacers or be on this group however, yeah, I am targeted on now. Right here and now.”
Oladipo is getting into the ultimate 12 months of his four-year, $84 million rookie extension that he signed in 2016. Indiana’s entrance workplace might let him play out the season or search for a commerce companion, however Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard has maintained that the two-time All-Star needs to be in Indiana.
Oladipo is coming off an injury-riddled marketing campaign the place he averaged 14.5 factors in 19 video games, which was his lowest scoring common since his rookie season in 2013-14. He returned to motion in 2019-20 whereas persevering with to get better from dropping many of the season to a ruptured quad tendon in his proper knee.
After struggling a first-round playoff exit to Miami, Indiana used the offseason to make huge modifications together with changing former coach Nate McMillan with new sideline chief Nate Bjorkgren — a former Toronto Raptors assistant. In addition they re-signed Justin Holiday.
The largest suggestions that Pritchard acquired from his gamers concerned guys eager to see how they may carry out with a wholesome Oladipo or All-Star huge man Domantas Sabonis, who left the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida, to obtain medical remedy for plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
Sabonis mentioned his foot feels wonderful now.
Oladipo can be feeling sturdy, which has him enthusiastic to start one other season. Nonetheless, sitting again and remaining quiet whereas listening to his identify engaged in talks wasn’t all the time simple, however he determined to manage what he might, which was enhancing as a basketball participant.
“It is very troublesome particularly when issues are mentioned about you that is damaging,” Oladipo mentioned. “I have been within the league for eight years now, that is my eighth 12 months, and that is the primary time anybody has accused me of something like this. It is very attention-grabbing to me however on the finish of the day, I am unable to let not one of the stuff that I am unable to management, make me lose focus of what actually issues and that is this workforce, my teammates, this group and ensuring I am wholesome.”
Listening to the chatter, whereas changing into emotionally unattached to the state of affairs, has him motivated to take it out on his opponents. To say that he has a chip on his shoulder is an understatement.
“It stopped being a chip a very long time in the past. It extra so feels just like the world on my again and I gotta be certain I maintain it up,” Oladipo mentioned. “So, should you wanna name me Atlas any further that is wonderful, nevertheless it’s now not a chip. It is larger than a chip now, so I am simply wanting ahead to competing on the highest degree.”