INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Pacers opened training camp Monday at the St. Vincent Center in downtown Indianapolis, where players conducted socially distanced, one-on-one sessions with coaches due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis, shooting guard Victor Oladipo, and first-year head coach Nate Bjorkgren were made available to speak with media via Zoom Monday.
It remains unclear whether Oladipo, who enters the final year of his contract, wants to play for the Pacers after his contract expires. The IndyStar reported Oladipo was asking other players to help him play for their teams when the NBA season was playing in Orlando.
“I’m focused on right now. To say that I don’t want to be here is crazy because I’ve never said that,” Oladipo said Monday. “This is Indiana Basketball. It speaks for itself. I don’t have control of the future. I don’t know what the future brings. I didn’t know that I was going to tear my quad, so it was hard to prepare for that. It’s hard to prepare for something I have no control over.”
First-year head coach Nate Bjorkgren made an effort to get to know Oladipo early on.
After Bjorkgren was hired in late October, he said he flew to Miami to spend a few days with Oladipo.
“Him and I went out to dinner. He spends a lot of time on his body and on his skill. It was a big work out day from the weight room to the court. Him and I had a lot of time together. I really enjoyed it.”
All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis also shared dinner with Bjorkgren when he was hired by the Pacers. The coach flew out to Los Angeles to see him.
“He wants to play faster,” Sabonis said of Bjorkgren’s vision for the Pacers. “We shot a lot of long twos as a team last year, and he wants to minimize that.”
Sabonis left the NBA Bubble in July with plantar fascitis in his left foot. He was averaging 18.5 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 5 assists per game.
The Pacers’ first preseason game is December 12 at Cleveland.