Is Jermaine O’Neal as Good as Gone?
Jim O’Brien was hired as the newest coach of the Indiana Pacers on Thursday. O’Brien says he wouldn’t have taken the job if he didn’t feel that the Pacers would be a playoff team next year. That’s great and all from the Rick Pitino protege, but let me say one thing — you’re not making the playoffs next year. Last year’s trade with Golden State buried the Pacers. And from the sounds of things, the Jermaine O’Neal ship is about ready to set-sail. Check out O’Brien’s response to Erik Kuselias’ question about what the franchise should do with Jermaine O’Neal, as heard on Mike and Mike in the Morning:
I’m not sure there’s a great answer for that. I think Jermaine O’Neal is a force. He is a great defensive player — shot blocker, and very difficult guy to handle down in the low post. We know we have a very, very strong All-Star, and I’m approaching this as if he’s going to be on our basketball team. Now if he’s not, certainly Larry Bird is not going to trade Jermaine O’Neal without getting quality player or quality players back for him. So whoever Larry decides is going to be on our basketball team is who I’m going to try and get in in the playoffs next year.
When it comes to making the final decision, that’s Larry’s. I’m confident that when it comes to Jermaine O’Neal, they’ll do the right thing.”
Well, if you asked for my opinion based on that answer, I’d say O’Neal is as good as gone. LA possibly? They don’t have much to offer. We’ve been hearing Jermaine O’Neal’s name in trade rumors forever, and he hasn’t been traded yet. Must suck to be him. But O’Brien’s lukewarm answer makes me think Jermaine will finally be out of Indiana before long.