Victor Oladipo happy with Rockets, believes ‘special days’ are ahead

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Ben DuBose
·3 min read
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When two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo was traded from Indiana to the Rockets in the mega-deal sending James Harden to Brooklyn, a report emerged suggesting that Houston wasn’t Oladipo’s preferred destination. (Per Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, he wants Miami.)

Considering that Oladipo will become a free agent after the 2020-21 season, that report quickly set off alarm bells among many Houston fans about whether the 28-year-old might need to be dealt again before this season’s March 25 trade deadline, in order to avoid potentially losing such a significant asset for no compensation.

But since reporting to the Rockets, the 6-foot-4 guard hasn’t shown any signs of wanting to be elsewhere. In contrast to Harden, who infamously said the Rockets “just weren’t good enough,” Oladipo said after Monday’s close loss to Chicago that he believed his new team could be great.

“I’m happy. I’m truly happy, because I feel better days are ahead of us,” Oladipo said after scoring 32 points and dishing out 9 assists.

Among his other postgame comments:

I just give God glory for the ability to play this game and the position I’m in because I remember two years ago, I could not walk. I know better days are ahead for the Houston Rockets, and I’m looking forward to being a part of those special days.

We’re not trying to be a good team. We’re trying to be a great team. We have the ability to do so. We have the personnel to do so and the coach. Now it’s all about doing it and buying into every day, every possession, and playing every game like it’s our last. That’s this team’s mentality. …

It was great going out there and just playing basketball, doing my best to get guys involved and trying to flow with the offense and things like that. It was great for the first go-round. It can only get better from here. I’m optimistic. I’m definitely positive and hope everyone is too, because our better days are ahead. …

The sky’s the limit for this team. We have a mixture of great young players and great vets who know how to play the game at a high level. If we just buy into the small things, we can be really special.

Plagued by significant injuries, quarantines, and the drama involving Harden’s offseason trade request, the Rockets (4-8) currently have the second-worst record in the Western Conference. After Monday’s loss in Chicago, they’ve now lost four of five games overall.

As a result, as positive as Oladipo sounds at the moment, Houston probably needs wins — and relatively quickly — to keep that sentiment going. If not, GM Rafael Stone could have some hard decisions to make by the March 25 trade deadline when it comes to veterans on expiring contracts, such as Oladipo and PJ Tucker.

But step one to potentially making things work with the current group is having the right frame of mind. In an apparent contrast to Harden, Oladipo said at his introductory press conference that he came to the Rockets “with an open mind and open heart” this season. Should things go right, that at least opens the door to a longer-term partnership.

Complete video of Oladipo’s comments is available below.

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Rockets reaction: Victor Oladipo posts 32 and 9 in debut loss to Bulls

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Cleveland
+150+4.5-
Houston
-182-4.5-