The Story About the Story Becomes the Story

Did J.O. demand a trade or simply give an honest answer to a hypothetical trade scenario? Hard to tell after a couple of stories with quotes that support both positions broke earlier today. ESPN.com has two stories up this evening that give both sides, again. This is why, if you really want to be dealt, stick with tossing out some "no comment" responses when asked.

It appears Sam Alipour was around for the same comments that Arash Markazi wrote about for SI.com. Alipour's story for ESPN.com expresses a stronger tone in J.O.'s words, especially when discussing Larry Joe Legend.

"Larry Bird is a hard man to deal with," O'Neal said. "He tries to make unfair trades. He wants to gut a team, but the Lakers are trying to get over the hump. I want Indiana to benefit, but with some nice young players and draft picks. I want to make it clear that I don't want to gut a team that I come to because then it'll be like I'm in Indiana all over again.

"If things don't work, I have an option in my contract next year and I will opt out and become a free agent."

That's a little different context for the opt out discussion. The "things" that need to work appear to be between J.O. and LJL.

Linked on the sidebar of Alipour's story is another "No Trade Demand" story with clarification from agent Arn Tellem that there's been no trade demand, plus LJL's stock "fair market value" talking points he uses when asked about a trade.

So now we have multiple sources verifying both sides of the story, when in fact J.O. is just trying to be everything to everyone. He doesn't want to insult the Pacers organization or the fans in Indy. That's OK, J.O. We can handle the truth and really, I'm thankful to hear from you on the topic. Now, time to keep quiet and stop muddying the trade waters because whatever you say now will just become another story.

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