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J.O. Quiets the Demand Talk

J.O. spoke up to debunk the "demand a trade to the Knicks" story pushed by Sam Smith.

"There were only three people in my meeting -- me, (CEO) Donnie Walsh and (president) Larry Bird," O'Neal said in a phone interview with The Star on Wednesday. "That's ridiculous to say I said that. They don't know what happened in there. I want to make this clear: I have too much respect for Donnie Walsh and (owners) Mel and Herb Simon and the city to continue (to) talk (adversely) about my future with the team."
Mike Wells doesn't let J.O. off so easy, though. He reads into that statement a riff between J.O. and Larry Joe Legend since J.O. omitted LJL when doling out his respect. Fine, whatever. I think Mike is stretching to give this story more legs. Look, J.O. is more than likely gone. The move will probably benefit both parties. With all the drama that has gone on around this team, a little ego clash between J.O. and LJL isn't even a blip on the radar, nor much of a story.

UPDATE: Donnie Walsh put a beat down on Mike Wells's assertion that LJL was taking indirect shots at J.O. when he mentioned problems with players that didn't practice or play regularly.
"Did Larry Bird single out Jermaine O'Neal in his press conference?" said Walsh. "That pretty much is the biggest bogus issue I've seen printed in our newspaper. I watched that press conference and Bird never referred to Jermaine at all in his comments. He was talking in general terms about what kind of players he liked. To go from there and impute that when he said he liked players that practiced hard it somehow referred to Jermaine O'Neal was the creation of an issue that doesn't exist."
DW also dismisses the idea that J.O. demanded a trade. Thanks for the update, Bruno!