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Is acquiring Victor Oladipo a risk Sixers might want to take in pursuit of NBA title? | Keith Pompey

To a much less degree, he could be the Sixers' version of what the Toronto Raptors did with Kawhi Leonard prior to the 2018-19 season.

Victor Oladipo, right, could help catapult the Sixers beyond the Eastern Conference finals.
Victor Oladipo, right, could help catapult the Sixers beyond the Eastern Conference finals.Read moreTony Dejak / AP

What about Victor Oladipo?

Would the 76ers be wise to trade for the Houston Rockets’ combo guard in their pursuit of this season’s NBA title?

Oladipo’s presence alongside Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris could help catapult the Sixers beyond the Eastern Conference finals.

Like Toronto’s Lowry, Oladipo’s contract expires at the conclusion of this season.

Some around the league think Oladipo could be a candidate to sign a contract with the Miami Heat during the upcoming free-agency period. So one has to imagine that the Rockets will look to move the two-time All-Star they acquired in a four-team deal that sent James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets.

Moving Oladipo before the March 25 trade deadline would enable the Rockets to get something in return for someone they’re expected to lose at season’s end. It would only make sense to keep him if they felt that team could contest for the Western Conference title.

That’s far from the case.

Houston (11-20) has lost 10 straight and 11 of its last 12 games and has the NBA’s third-worst record.

So the Rockets are looking to reset. That’s why they’ll probably try to get something for Oladipo and P.J. Tucker, who also has an expiring contract.

Houston would probably want some young talent or draft picks in return for Oladipo, who is making $21 million. The Sixers’ Danny Green, as the highest salaried player with an expiring contract, would probably have to be included in the deal along with young talent. Green is on the books for $15.3 million.

However, it’s hard to justify giving up a promising young player in exchange for a guy who could part ways in a couple of months. As a result, the Sixers would want to get a sense that Oladipo is willing to stay beyond this season and at what price before making that deal.

So there’s some risks.

Oladipo is ball dominant. So Doc Rivers would have to find a way to mesh him with the current roster. That could take some time. Assuming a deal is made right at the March 25 deadline, the Sixers would have to ask themselves if the final 18 games of the regular season is enough time to do that.

But as an All-Star level player, the 28-year-old Oladipo would be an upgrade to the roster. He’s the level of player Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey sought when he was the Rockets’ general manager.

Oladipo would give the Sixers the perimeter player they need, who can create his own shot or take over a game.

He is averaging 19.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.4 steals in his combined games this season with the Pacers and Rockets. Oladipo had 27 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals while making 4 of 10 three-pointers in Friday’s 122-111 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

» READ MORE: Kyle Lowry would make the Sixers a true championship-or-bust team | Mailbag

The second pick of the 2013 draft has career averages of 17.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.6 steals. He’s also shooting 34.7% on three-point attempts.

His best season came in 2017-18, when he was named the league’s most improved player in addition to being the NBA steals champion (2.4 steals per game), an All-Defense first-teamer and an All-NBA third-teamer.

He’s a risk the Sixers might want to take in order to win a title.

To a much lesser degree, he could be their version of what the Toronto Raptors did with Kawhi Leonard during the 2018-19 season.

The Raptors gave up DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Pöltl, and 2019 first-round draft pick to the San Antonio Spurs for Leonard and Danny Green on July 18, 2018. Toronto did that knowing they would have a tough time signing Leonard during the 2019 free-agency period.

It didn’t matter.

Leonard delivered the franchise its lone NBA title in June 2019 before signing a free-agent contract with the Los Angeles Clippers one month later.

But this is far from a no-brainer for the Sixers. They are going to have to take time to think about this one.