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Jermaine O’Neal Expects to be Traded

There was a time when Jermaine O’Neal was a relevant name. He was one of the top big men in the league going 20 and 10 with regularity. Now, not so much. He’s had lots of knee injuries and really hasn’t done much in the last few years, with the Pacers following suit. Now O’Neal sees the team going in a different direction, and as he told The Monty Show on Sporting News Radio Thursday, he thinks he’ll be traded:

“I really believe if it comes down to them totally rebuilding, I believe that they will move me. That’s pretty much the consensus thought I got from the ownership and management before I left Indianapolis. I don’t think it’s going to come down to a situation where we got to go back and forth, back and forth for me to be moved on, because they’ve just totally rehauled the team. I think if they’re going to rehaul the team, then they will move me, and move me to another team that has a chance of winning a championship. That was one thing that was said to me and really pleased me before I left Indianapolis.”

When O’Neal refers to Indianapolis, he’s talking about a pre-draft meeting with ownership and management. What I did like about O’Neal’s interview is that he made it clear he’s not trying to push his way out of Indianapolis; he says he owes a lot to the organization and knows he has two more years left on his deal. But there you go, that’s at least one big name out there on the blocks, so you can start firing off trade rumors now that involve him. Funny, wasn’t it around this time last year we were talking about him going to the Lakers, possibly for Bynum? My, how things change.

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.