Former Pacers Star Victor Oladipo Thrives in Houston Rockets Debut

Grant Afseth

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Victor Oladipo had an impressive debut for the Houston Rockets on Monday night, scoring 32 points with five rebounds, nine assists, and two steals during the Rockets' 125-120 loss to the Bulls. 

The Pacers traded Oladipo last week as part of a four-team mega-deal, with Oladipo winding up in Houston. This was his first game after the trade.

Against the Bulls on Monday, the Rockets placed a strong emphasis on involving Oladipo in pick-and-roll situations, with John Wall sidelined due to injury. Those sequences worked masterfully as Oladipo generated an impressive 1.385 points per possession on 26 overall pick-and-roll plays. 

After Oladipo turned down a contract extension from the Pacers that would have earned him reportedly at least $25 million per season, it became clear to the organization that he was likely to depart in free agency. The Rockets used this to their advantage by acquiring him via trade in the four-team deal centered around Houston's James Harden being traded to Brooklyn. 

In the trade that sent Oladipo to the Rockets, the Pacers received Caris LeVert from the Brooklyn Nets. It will be months before LeVert is able to make his debut with Indiana after team doctors discovered a kidney growth during a routine physical. 

The Pacers view LeVert as a long-term option. He is signed through the 2022-23 NBA season while Oladipo was considered unlikely to return after he reached free agency.

The Pacers will face off against Oladipo and the Rockets when the two sides meet on Feb. 20 at the Toyota Center in Houston.