Indiana Pacers star Victor Oladipo has denied he wants to leave the NBA franchise amid rumours over his future.
Oladipo has been the subject of numerous trade rumours during the NBA's offseason as the two-time All-Star enters the final year of his four-year, $84million rookie extension.
The 28-year-old guard, who was selected second in the 2013 draft, was traded to the Pacers in 2017 in a deal that saw Paul George dealt to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Oladipo endured an injury-hit season as the Pacers were swept in the opening round of the playoffs at Walt Disney World Resort amid the coronavirus pandemic, and he shot down rumours of a trade.
"Growing up, I was always taught not to engage in nonsense," Oladipo told reporters on Tuesday, with the Pacers preparing for life under new head coach Nate Bjorkgren. "I never have.
"I never came out and said that I didn't want to play for the Pacers or be in this organisation, but, yeah, I'm focused on now. Here and now."
"We have an opportunity to do something really special here this year, and from top to bottom, everyone here can feel that. I know I can feel it," said @VicOladipo on the first day of Training Camp pic.twitter.com/O1BZsJ21uh— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) December 1, 2020
Oladipo – who suffered a season-ending ruptured quadriceps tendon in January last year – averaged 14.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game in 2019-20.
In four postseason games last term, Oladipo averaged 17.8 points, 3,3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
Oladipo added: "It's very difficult, especially when things are said about you that's negative. I've been in the league for eight years now, this is my eighth year, and this is the first time anyone has accused me of anything like this.
"It's very interesting to me, but at the end of the day, I can't let none of the stuff that I can't control make me lose focus of what really matters, and that's this team, my teammates, this organisation and making sure I'm healthy."
On his fitness, with the 2020-21 season due to get underway on December 22, Oladipo said: "I feel a lot better, a lot stronger. There's always room for improvement obviously, but I definitely feel better from even in the bubble until now. I think I've made some pretty drastic improvements."