Houston Rockets guard Victor Oladipo reportedly “remains in play” for the New York Knicks ahead of the 2021 NBA trade deadline on March 25.
Marc Berman of the New York Post reported Friday that Oladipo, whose contract runs out after the 2020-21 season, is viewed as a short-term rental who can help end the Knicks’ seven-year playoff drought.
The Knicks also kept tabs on the potential availability of the Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal and Chicago Bulls’ Zach LaVine, but with those star shooting guards likely unavailable, they’ll shift their attention to Oladipo with the Rockets being a likely pre-deadline seller, per Berman.
Houston acquired the two-time All-Star in January as part of the four-team blockbuster that sent James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets.
Oladipo has averaged 19.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.4 steals across 15 appearances since the trade. He’s struggled with his offensive efficiency, however, shooting just 38.7 percent from the field and 31.3 percent from three.
He ranked as the NBA’s ninth-best player during the 2017-18 season based on ESPN’s real plus-minus while with the Indiana Pacers, but he missed most of the following campaign with a ruptured quadriceps tendon and hasn’t been able to make it all that way back to that elite level.
Oladipo’s scoring ability could still be valuable for the Knicks, who rank 29th in points per game (104.9) and have lacked a second reliable scorer behind All-Star forward Julius Randle.
New York would probably shift to a lot of three-guard looks if it acquired the 28-year-old Maryland native, who would likely join RJ Barrett and Elfrid Payton in the starting lineup alongside Randle and Nerlens Noel. Mitchell Robinson would replace Noel once he recovers from a hand injury.
Oladipo could also come at a reasonable price since Houston will be motivated to move him given his expiring contract and its recent 13-game losing streak dropping the team to 11-23, well out of the playoff picture in the highly competitive Western Conference.
The Knicks may have competition for him on the trade market given his strong track record, though.