Jermaine O'Neal addressed his status with the Indiana Pacers yesterday on The Monty Show on Sporting News Radio. Yes, he mentioned the usual trade scenarios. No, he didn't demand a trade.
Thanks to Josh from SNR, I have the quotes and actual audio so you can hear the words directly from J.O.
O'Neal thinks he'll be traded if team rebuilds:"I really believe if it comes down to them totally rebuilding, I believe that they will move me. That's pretty much the consensus thought I got from the ownership and management before I left Indianapolis. I don't think it's going to come down to a situation where we got to go back and forth, back and forth for me to be moved on, because they've just totally rehauled the team. I think if they're going to rehaul the team, then they will move me, and move me to another team that has a chance of winning a championship. That was one thing that was said to me and really pleased me before I left Indianapolis."O'Neal thinks they're rebuilding and prefers not to go through it:"I think they are about to rebuild. I'm not sure; we're supposed to meet after the draft again. If that's the case, I would prefer to not go through a rebuilding stage."O'Neal's not forcing a trade/has loyalty to the city:"The city has been good to me. You see so many situations where players in different sports make a situation really bad before they're actually even out of the situation. I'm not a free agent, I have two years left on my deal and I don't want to get into that. The city, and the ownership deserves more than that from me."
JO thinks Pacers will trade him if they rebuild team
JO prefers not to go through rebuild
JO not forcing his way out of Indiana
JO has loyalty for Pacers and Indy
JO kept his knee injury quiet
Looks like Mike Wells received the same info I did and went directly to J.O. for clarifications. Here is Mike's post on the topic and reaction from J.O.
I gave O'Neal a call after reading the interview. I told him what the subject line and the first thing he said was, "Come on, Mike, do you think I really said I wanted to be traded on the radio?" I said, "No," and we both got a laugh out of the situation.
O'Neal said his knee feels good and he's working out on a regular basis at the Abunassar Impact Basketball academy in Las Vegas.
I think it's safe to say, after last summer, we're all past dissecting quotes regarding J.O.'s status with the Pacers. I actually draw a lot of positives out of this interview. Seems like J.O. and the Pacers front office are all on the same page and know what to expect from each other. That's a good thing. Whatever happens will happen when it happens.