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So What So What So What's the Scenario

Mark Montieth's latest blog entry explores the options for how the Pacers season will play out with regard to Jermaine O'Neal. In a nutshell, he sees three ways this thing can go:

  1. J.O. regains MVP form, leading the Pacers to a good season. Whether he opts out or not, his value will give the Pacers options.

  2. J.O. plays well, the team struggles and he opts out. This is also positive since it frees up so much cap space for future roster flexibility.

  3. J.O. doesn't play at a superstar level making him hard to move, and then plays out his contract keeping the Pacers in "purgatory of mediocrity" for a few years.
MM also mentions a trade scenario, which I think applies to scenarios one and three. IF J.O. has high value then the trade options will always be worth looking at, unless the team morphs into something it is not currently (i.e. Eastern Conference title contender). If J.O.'s value is in decline, hanging on to him and a max salary would be useless. A trade for trade's sake would be better than riding out that big contract. Not like we aren't all familiar with this scenario. We should know by Christmas how likely scenario one is, and if O'Brien truly has the roster working in unison toward a common goal, J.O. will have the opportunity to prove his true worth.