It seems like something the Knicks could explore.
According to Tim Bontemps of ESPN, there is reason to believe that the Pacers could trade Oladipo after the 2019-20 campaign concludes, and a Western Conference coach names New York as a potential destination for the guard.
But what packages could the Knicks put together to entice Oladipo, who has a year remaining on his deal?
Here are three trade ideas for New York to try to pry the 28-year-old away from Indiana.
3. Mitchell Robinson, Frank Ntilikina, Bobby Portis and two 2020 first-round draft picks (via Clippers and Mavericks)
The general goal for the Knicks will be to keep RJ Barrett out of any deal for Oladipo. Barrett is New York’s top prospect, and New York would surely like to pair him with Oladipo rather than trade him for Oladipo.
Here, the prize of the package is Mitchell Robinson, a young big man who has shown considerable promise as a rim protector and a roll man, a la Clint Capela or DeAndre Jordan.
Frank Ntilikina has been a disappointment since being taken eighth overall by the Knicks in 2017, but at the very least, he is a very good perimeter defender and has room to grow on both ends.
Portis is merely in there for salary filler. Here is the catch, though: New York will have to exercise his $15.8 million team option for next season before trading him.
The Knicks would also surely want to avoid including their own first-round draft pick, which should be a very high selection. Instead, they throw in one of the two picks they acquired from the Dallas Mavericks in the Kristaps Porzingis deal and the selection they landed from the Los Angeles Clippers in the trade that sent Marcus Morris to LA back in February.
2. Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina, Bobby Portis, two 2020 first-round draft picks (via Clippers and Mavericks) and a 2022 second-round draft pick
Perhaps the Pacers don’t want Robinson, seeing as how they already have Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis up front. Maybe they want some wing scoring instead.
In that case, the Knicks could replace Robinson with Kevin Knox. To sweeten the pot due to the fact that Knox is very raw and unproven, they can also toss in a 2022 second-round pick.
New York took Knox with the ninth overall pick in 2018, but thus far, he has been underwhelming. He was actually likened by some to Carmelo Anthony at the time of the draft, but he has certainly not lived up to that billing through his first two seasons.
Indiana might not bite on this deal, especially given how pedestrian Knox has looked up until this point. However, with Oladipo coming off the ruptured quad tendon, the Pacers may not actually be able to find the significant return they’d desire in a trade.
The rest of the deal is the same: Ntilikina for some perimeter defense, Portis for some salary filler and the two first-round picks.
1. RJ Barrett, Frank Ntilikina, Bobby Portis and the Mavericks’ 2020 first-round draft pick
The Knicks might not let it get to this point, because it’s tough to envision them trading Barrett for Oladipo given the current circumstances surrounding the Pacers star.
But in the event that New York really wants Oladipo and Indiana says “Barrett or no deal,” this is an option the two sides could explore.
The Knicks may not even have to throw in a first-round pick here, because Barrett was the third overall pick from last June and carries pretty significant value by himself.
That being said, neither Ntilikina nor Portis are exactly prizes, so New York may have to throw in another asset to get the Pacers to pull the trigger.
Again, I am not advocating that the Knicks do this, because there are legitimate questions about Oladipo’s future, both in terms of health and salary. He is slated to make $21 million next season before hitting free agency. If he plays well, he will definitely be looking for a max deal. Would New York hand a max contract to a guy with such a severe injury in his rearview mirror?
Yeah, we can say “it’s the Knicks,” but they are under new management in Leon Rose, and he may be a bit more cautious than previous regimes in terms of giving big dollars to players who are largely question marks.
Honestly, New York could be able to get an Oladipo deal done without including Barrett. That’s if Indy is serious about trading Oladipo, of course.