JERMAINE O’NEAL WOULD “WELCOME TRADE TO LAKERS“: Arash Markazi has the lead on SI.com at the moment, as he reports that Jermaine O’Neal of the Indiana Pacers wants a trade to the Lakers: “I would welcome a trade to the Lakers. Indiana has given me the opportunity to establish myself as a really good player in this league, but they’re into rebuilding and going really young, and I’m just not in a position physically to go through another five to six years with a lot of losses and a lot of down time.”
“Los Angeles and New Jersey would be my top two teams. I think L.A.’s a real possibility and I think New Jersey’s a possibility too. I love L.A. I normally train here every summer. The last two summers I haven’t trained here because I got hurt, but I love it here. My daughter loves it. My wife loves it. This is one of the prime places that if I were to be traded, I would allow Indiana to trade me here.”
“Me and Kobe have been on each other since we were 15, playing AAU basketball, adidas All-American Camp, Nike All-American Camp. It’s been a long relationship that we’ve had. We talked about maybe playing together. … We just want to make sure that our thought processes are similar and now we’re going to let the business handle itself. I mean, we could talk for years, but if [Lakers GM] Mitch Kupchak and [Pacers president] Larry Bird don’t decide to make the deal, then it’s all talk.”
Some opine that O’Neal is already on the downside of his career (at only 28) because of injuries, but he claimed to Markazi he’s 100% after a recent knee surgery which he said he had put off for two years (apparently Jermaine had previously been consulting with Shaq on his offseason surgical regimen).
The other interesting part of this piece is how ESPN will handle it. The story has been the lead on SI.com for four hours (as of 10AM PT) and nary a mention from ESPN.com *SHOCK*. Well, at least they’re leading up to their self-annointed “Worldwide Leader” nickname!
Most Lakers fans we know (we’re one of them) understands this deal won’t happen, since just like team GM Mitch Kupchak always says, “there’s no magic wand to wave” to make major roster moves happen. Hey, it’s not like you’ve got a major NBA star coming out and telling the media on the record that he wants to get traded to your team.