Victor Oladipo hoping to help get the Thunder 'over the hump'

ByNick Friedell ESPN logo
Saturday, July 2, 2016

ORLANDO -- As word of Victor Oladipo's basketball future trickled into the universe, the freshly minted Oklahoma City guard had a message for all of the people texting his phone.

"A lot of my coaches and a lot of my friends texted me, told me what was going on and asked me how I felt about it," Oladipo said Saturday during a break at the Orlando Summer League. "I just sent them a ring emoji. That's what my goal is -- to help this team win a championship. It's kind of funny going from one extreme to another. It's pretty cool. It's all a blessing. I'm looking forward to the next chapter in my life."

Oladipo, who was dealt alongside Ersan Ilyasova and the draft rights to Domantas Sabonis on draft night from the Orlando Magic to the Thunder in exchange for Serge Ibaka, was on a plane watching the draft on his phone as he headed to Chris Paul's Basketball Camp.

"I was shocked at first because I didn't really know," Oladipo said. "But after settling in I obviously got really excited, really fast."

Oladipo said he has spoken to both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in recent days and is looking forward to playing alongside Westbrook in the backcourt.

"It's going to be fun to watch," Oladipo said. "And definitely going to be fun to play with him. [We have a] similar mentality. It's going to be very interesting to see how that works."

Oladipo said Westbrook "reached out to me five minutes after the trade happened."

"He just asked me if I was ready and am I excited," Oladipo said. "And I said, I'm ready and I'm excited. So it's going to be fun, man. I'm looking forward to it. I just can't wait to put on that uniform and compete."

As for Durant, Oladipo, like all Thunder fans, is hoping the former MVP decides to re-sign in Oklahoma City.

"It's an important part of Kevin's life," Oladipo said. "I'm sure he'll make the right decision, what's best for him, his family, his career. If I get the opportunity to play with him, it would be phenomenal. ... It would be pretty cool."

Oladipo said he holds "no hard feelings" toward the Magic after the deal. Orlando selected him with the No. 2 pick in the 2013 NBA draft. After three seasons in the league, the former Indiana Hoosier seems excited about the opportunity to play in meaningful NBA games later in the season.

"I'm looking forward to it," Oladipo said. "Dreamed about that stage, dreamed about the opportunity of being on that type of stage and having the opportunity to compete for a championship. Now I have that opportunity, so I got to take full advantage of it."

After watching the Thunder from afar, Oladipo is also happy about the chance to play for a winning team in a winning culture. He said "there were like 20 people waiting for me" as he came off the escalator at the airport when he arrived in Oklahoma City after the deal went down.

"Their play spoke for themselves," Oladipo said. "They got two of the best players in the world. They have a great team, well coached. It was always exciting playing against them. It was definitely one of the games that I was looking forward to ... it was always exciting to watch them. Paid close attention to watching them in the playoffs. They were right there. Now being a part of that, hopefully I can help get them over the hump."