With the NBA season set to resume in the constructed Orlando bubble after a four-month-long hiatus due to COVID-19, there will also be numerous salary ramifications that players and front offices will have to navigate. Perhaps the premier example of how the latest rules could affect a player’s salary is Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo who finds himself in a dispute with the NBA over the $3 million remaining on his contract this season.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Oladipo and the Pacers expected the remainder of his salary this season to be fulfilled but the NBA is looking to set a precedent. Even though Oladipo has traveled with the Pacers to Orlando, it remains up in the air whether he actually plans on playing once the season resumes. The league, however, believes Oladipo has opted out of play and thus should not be rewarded the remainder of his salary.
Indiana Pacers star Victor Oladipo is in an unresolved situation regarding $3 million in salary, multiple sources told ESPN.
Under the rules the NBA established for its season restart in Orlando, players who were healthy but opted not to play would have to forgo their remaining salary for the season. Two weeks ago, in an interview with The Athletic, Oladipo said he was healthy but had decided not to play to ensure recovery from his quad tendon tear in January 2019.
In the days since, lawyers from the players’ union and the NBA have reviewed the situation, and there is dispute regarding Oladipo’s situation. The union believes Oladipo, who went to Orlando with the Pacers and then cleared quarantine so he could practice, should be paid his remaining salary, sources said.
The league, largely in an effort to set a precedent in case other players who are deemed healthy want to leave Orlando and no longer play, believes Oladipo has opted out and should not be paid, sources said. His public comments about feeling healthy has only solidified the league’s position on the matter, sources said.
Oladipo has played in only 13 games thus far this season due to a torn quad injury he suffered earlier in the campaign. The Pacers currently sit at the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference with a record of 39-26.
Whether or not Oladipo comes back for Indiana could make a huge difference down the stretch, but it remains to be seen how his salary situation plays out. Even if Oladipo ends up sitting out Indiana’s games in the bubble, he could still be rewarded his final $3 million depending on whether he’s considered healthy or not by the NBA front office.