Tony Dejak/Associated Press
Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo said in early July he would not participate in the NBA restart, but the situation has grown more complicated.
The 28-year-old told Shams Charania of The Athletic one of the reasons he planned to sit out was for fear of sustaining a soft tissue injury after such a long absence. The two-time All-Star previously tore a quad tendon in January 2019, and lingering concerns about his overall condition and rehab likely influenced his decision.
However, Charania reported on Monday there was “growing belief” Oladipo will indeed attempt to play in the restart and added that the Pacers star has been partaking in full five-on-five scrimmages, noting “there’s now optimism around his playing status…”
Despite previous concerns about his physical state, the fact that he has joined his team in scrimmaging bodes well for Indiana. So does this: Oladipo has received full medical clearance both from team and private doctors, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
The former Orlando Magic player has had a tough season. Aside from the fact that he missed the first several months rehabbing from the torn quad, he struggled upon return. In 13 games, he averaged just 13.8 points while shooting below 40 percent from the field. He also missed additional time due to the occasional aches and pains.
But things were starting to look up for Oladipo before the season was suspended in March. In fact, he scored 27 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists on March 10 against the Boston Celtics, Indiana’s final game before the suspension of play.
The Pacers enter the restart in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, just two games back of the Miami Heat for the No. 4 seed. A healthy and productive Oladipo would liven their prospects for seeding improvement and a potential playoff run.
All that remains now is the essential question: Will Oladipo play, or will he stick to his initial decision?
Arn Tellem Has ‘Significant Voice’ in Detroit Front Office
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press
The Detroit Pistons made wholesale changes to the front office during the offseason, tabbing Troy Weaver to be the team’s new general manager.
But it is unclear how much power Weaver will have in making roster decisions. Sam Vecenie of The Athletic reported vice chairman of Palace Sports & Entertainment Arn Tellem has a “significant voice” in Detroit’s front office.
This is hardly the time for cloudiness in the Pistons’ front office.
The team got out from under Andre Drummond’s contract when they dealt him to the Cleveland Cavaliers in February, but it might face tough choices with respect to the futures of Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose.
Griffin is owed close to $36.6 million next season, and he also has a player option worth over $38.9 million for the 2021-22 campaign, per Basketball Reference. But his injury history resurfaced this year, and he was limited to just 18 games before undergoing surgery.
Rose has experienced a resurgence in Detroit, averaging 18.1 points and 5.6 assists while shooting 49 percent from the field. The 2011 NBA MVP will be on an expiring contract next year, and some executives told Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher they feel the 31-year-old is the Pistons’ only real trade asset.
Weaver said in June both Rose and Griffin were part of the “plans going forward,” per ESPN’s Eric Woodyard. But it might be worth considering just how much autonomy Weaver has in making personnel decisions, given Tellem is reportedly still involved.
Jock Landale is ‘Pursuing’ an NBA Opportunity
Andy Wong/Associated Press
Former Saint Mary’s center Jock Landale is entertaining a move to the NBA after spending the 2019-20 season with Zalgiris Kaunas, per Lithuanian basketball journalist Donatas Urbonas.
Landale 11.0 points and 4.4 rebounds in just over 20 minutes per game in 25 games for the Lithuanian club. He also played for Australia during last summer’s FIBA World Cup, averaging 6.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in eight games.
The 24-year-old has only flirted with NBA action. He spent the 2019 Summer League with the Milwaukee Bucks where he averaged over 18 points and seven rebounds in four games with the team. However, he was not rewarded with an NBA contract.
But Landale might well get his chance after another strong performance overseas. He has good size (6’11”, 255 lbs) and has shown the ability to step out and hit the occasional perimeter jumper.
All stats obtained via Basketball Reference, unless otherwise noted.
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