After weeks of negotiations, the Houston Rockets finally agree on a trade for James Harden. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, this trade featured the Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers. While Brooklyn received the former MVP, the Indiana Pacers also come out as winners despite trading away a former All-Star. While that might appear to be a loss, this article will highlight why the Indiana Pacers came out as winners.
Back in the summer of 2018, the Indiana Pacers traded for Victor Oladipo. Right away, Oladipo made an impact and won the Most Improved Player award, followed by appearing in the NBA All-Star game. The Indiana Pacers looked like they were slowly returning back to glory with Oladipo to build around. However, in the following season, Oladipo tragically tore his ACL and had to miss the rest of the season.
While this was a massive blow for the Pacers, his absence lifted the production of Domantas Sabonis. In his second year with the Pacers, Sabonis would make an All-Star appearance while leading his team to the playoffs. Oladipo’s injury was unfortunate, but it did allow other players to grow. For instance, the Pacers still managed to become a playoff team without their former star in the line-up. This opens realms of possibility for the Pacers as they realized that they don’t entirely need Oladipo in the line-up.
Why This Trade Is Perfect for Indiana
This past summer, Indiana wanted to test the market for Oladipo but failed due to his injury history. In today’s trade, Indiana struck the best-case scenario in a trade for Oladipo. Receiving Caris LeVert is more than enough for Oladipo when factoring in his contract and skill. While Caris LeVert is not on the same level as a healthy Victor Oladipo, he’s shown flashes of All-Star talent.
Trading Oladipo to the Houston Rockets is a match made in heaven. The Rockets lose out on a shooting guard and quickly replace that position with Oladipo. However, the Indiana Pacers receive Caris LeVert, who has played like a borderline All-Star and kept Brooklyn competitive. Although Oladipo was impressive with the Pacers, Caris LeVert’s impact will be greater. From his shooting ability to how he understands his role, Caris is the perfect player for Indiana. He joins this roster as the new shooting guard and will provide meaningful minutes as a third option. The best part about receiving Caris is longevity. Unlike Oladipo, who enters this off-season as an unrestricted free-agent, Caris LeVert is on an affordable three-year contract. His contributions as a third option behind Sabonis and Brogdon will allow Indiana to potentially become a top-five seed in the Eastern Conference.
Even though the Oladipo chapter ended on a tragic note, the Pacers become better with Caris LeVert on the roster. While this roster is far from being a championship contender, the Pacers have a good foundation to work with. All this team needs now is a superstar to lead them to the promised land and eventually win their first championship in franchise history!