The rumors of J.O.'s imminent departure from the Pacers have slowed down and maybe, just maybe, he's not going anywhere. In the past couple of days both subtle and overt indications have popped up that Seven will stay open for business in Broad Ripple AND Conseco Fieldhouse. The overt indication comes in the form of this L.A. Times article on the J.O. to Lakers negotiations reaching an impasse.
The Lakers and Pacers have stalled on trade talks involving the six-time All-Star forward-center because the Lakers do not want to give up both Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom in a swap for O'Neal and power forward Troy Murphy, a source said. The Lakers would also include Kwame Brown in the trade.
Did someone mention Troy Murphy? I don't mind Murphy, the player, but Murphy, the contract is brutal. If Murph is in on that deal then the Pacers could really get somewhere in the rebuilding process over the next year or two. Of course, that means Kwame Brown would probably be coming to the Pacers, along with 50 or so losses next year. pookey tell me again how I need to embrace short term pain for long term gain. At least this isn't a Stephen Jackson or Ron Artest situation. Larry Joe Legend can hold firm to his demands because the desperation is on the other side of the negotiations.
The sublte indication comes from this O'B chat transcript on Pacers.com. Here's the first Q&A item:
Kyle (Holly Springs): What player, if you could only choose one, are you most excited about coaching and why?
Jim O'Brien: I would say it would be Jermaine O'Neal. I know there's been talk about trading him, but we think he's a huge factor at both ends of the court. He protects the basket, takes charges, blocks shots and he's been the No. 1 scoring option for the Pacers for a number of years.
I realize O'B mentions the trade rumors, but wouldn't it be odd to mention his excitement about coaching J.O. if there was a solid chance of J.O. not being on the roster next year? Maybe it was an easy way out of the question since he's not actually excited about coaching anyone else on the roster.
Of course, LJL's MO has been to do the unexpected, making the media rumor-mongers appear clueless. So keeping that in mind, maybe these indications are actually a step towad getting the deal done, whether it be with the Lakers or some other team.