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Feel the Love Between Jermaine O'Neal and Larry Joe Legend

OK, OK, we get it. Jermaine O'Neal isn't going anywhere (well, unless a team shows up with a little "fair market value"). The Pacers feel good about their team and are counting on J.O. this season. In other words, sorry for the confusion but it's all good. Really?

Both Larry Joe Legend and J.O. continued to hit their talking points to muffle the comments attibuted to J.O. while he was in LA. Both J.O. and LJL made rare radio appearances yesterday. Mark Montieth has it covered in the Indy Star. Here's an interesting tidbit out of this report.

O'Neal said he talked extensively with Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh on Tuesday to explain his position. He has not spoken with Bird, but offered no criticism of the Pacers front office in his radio interview.

"Those guys are doing a great job up there," he said.
No wonder Donnie Walsh hung around this year. There has to be a reason LJL and J.O. don't communicate or even give the appearance that they communicate. Man, they need some success together or it will eventually end ugly for one or both.

LJL went deeper into the state of the Pacers with a Q n A at He touches on J.O., how he sees the team improving, and how much the change in the team hinges on Jim O'Brien's philosophy taking hold.
Q. It's clear you have an enormous amount of confidence in Coach O'Brien. How big an impact can a coach have on the situation?
A. I've been in this league 27 years and I've seen it over and over again. If you have the right frame of mind and the guys buy into what you're trying to do, you will have success. When I coached here, the team had some injuries, they won 39 games, and just by the change of scenery and a new direction the guys won 58 games. I ain't saying I was the reason for that but there was a change in scenery and a different style. The guys have to buy into it. We tried to change our culture around here, first of all. We went through a lot the last three years. I have a great passion for this franchise because I followed this franchise since the ABA years. I know what Indiana's all about. I know the style they want to play. I know they want these to come out every day and work hard not only during the games but in practice. They want them to be good citizens. That's what we're trying to change here and I think we're on the right track. Eventually, it's all going to come together.
Well, I sure feel better. How about you? Of course, the day is young and there's still plenty of words and context to be mangled before it's over.