Former GM: Suns had talks to trade up, draft Victor Oladipo No. 1 in 2013
There are countless “what if” scenarios for NBA franchises, and general managers specifically have had plenty of trades and signings nearly happen that would have drastically changed their teams.shi
One of those that former Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough claims was a thing is trading up in the 2013 NBA Draft.
“We were actually talking to the Cleveland Cavaliers about a potential trade,” he said on the Scal and Pals Show.
The target apparently was Victor Oladipo.
“We were going to draft the guy you mentioned, who went to Orlando with the No. 2 pick who’s now playing very well for the Indiana Pacers when he’s healthy,” McDonough said.
Oladipo has had a fascinating NBA career.
In his first three years for the Magic, he was finding his way as an efficient scorer, with Orlando playing him quite a bit as a point guard.
While his defense always clicked and improved each year, Oladipo was in need of a reset. He got that when he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016, where he struggled to click with Russell Westbrook like many have.
One season later, he was a part of the Paul George deal and sent to Indiana.
That’s where Oladipo thrived, having a fantastic season you could either label as a breakthrough or resurgence. He averaged 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game on 47.7% shooting from the field and 37.1% from three-point range.
On top of being First Team All-Defense, he was Third Team All-NBA.
Oladipo was an All-Star for the second straight year in 2019, but that was after he suffered a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee, an injury from January that still has him slated to miss a good chunk of the 2019-20 season.
The debate with this particular “what if” is if Oladipo even becomes that peak 2017-18 version of himself in Phoenix. Remember, it took him his third team to figure it out. The Suns sure seem more likely to be the team he couldn’t figure it out with than vice versa.
McDonough said it looked like there was a chance the deal was getting done but the Cavaliers took themselves out of the talks. The Suns wound up selecting Alex Len No. 5, who flopped and is now with the Atlanta Hawks.
“We called the Cavaliers and thought we might have a deal,” McDonough said.
Cleveland drafted Anthony Bennett with the top pick, one of the all-time busts in league history.
So it shouldn’t surprise you to hear that, according to McDonough, Cleveland said they didn’t know who they were taking while they were on the clock.
“I don’t want to say who it was.. one of Chris Grant’s lieutenants called back and said, ‘No deal.’ And I said, OK, who are you guys taking at No. 1?
“The guy said, ‘I’m not sure yet.’ I said, ‘What do you mean you’re not sure yet?'”