Indiana Pacers Face A Roadblock in Their Attempt to Replace Victor Oladipo

Published 07/04/2020, 6:00 AM EDT


Certain teams have strengthened their roster ahead of the NBA’s return. A few players have opted out of competing in the Orlando bubble citing various reasons. Recent news about Victor Oladipo refusing to participate in the bubble has left the Indiana Pacers in a complicated situation. 

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Oladipo sustained a threatening ruptured quad tendon in January 2019, which caused him to miss the remainder of the season. Recovering from a major injury takes time and Oladipo made a late debut to the 2019-20 season. The 28-year-old has only played 13 games for the Pacers this season, in which he averaged 13.9 points.

Now Oladipo has put the Indiana Pacers in a tricky situation by recently announcing that he will not be competing with the team in the Orlando bubble. The point guard stated his reasons which were brought forth by Shams Charania of The Athletic

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Oladipo mentioned that his competitive self is really pushing him to play, but there are reasons to avoid it. “I just can’t get my mind to being fully comfortable in playing,” Oladipo said. “I have to be smart and this decision hasn’t been easy, but I truly believe continuing on the course I’m on and getting fully healthy for the 2020-21 season is the right decision for me.”

Indiana Pacers aren’t finding it easy to replace Oladipo

With a talented player like Oladipo out of the squad, one can expect the Pacers to think ahead and make some quick decisions. With that being said, the organization went one step ahead and tried to sign former player Lance Stephenson

Now, as per Pacers reporter Scott Agness, the deal to bring Stephenson for the remainder of the season is a no-go. Here is why the situation is a bit complex. While Oladipo has decided to sit out for the bubble, he would still be traveling with the team and will not be forfeiting his salary

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Oladipo would still be a member of the team, but would not participate in any of the games. If the Pacers officially try to sign Stephenson, it would be ruled out. He is ineligible to play as mentioned by Scott Agness. 

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While the addition of Stephenson would certainly be a determining factor, it is out of the Pacers’ hands. The team is now facing a major crisis with respect to roster management. Oladipo did not carry the team on his back this season. But the team will miss his presence when the Pacers take on the Philadelphia 76ers to kick-start their campaign in Orlando.

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Arjun Athreya

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Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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