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IC Cold Links: Ford Remains On The Chopping Block As Trading Deadline Approaches

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T.J. Ford needs a new home.

After not-so-quietly being sent to the trading block when he was benched back on Dec. 30, the Pacers haven't made it too public that they are heavily shopping the point guard before the trading deadline on Feb. 18. But it was easy for fans to assume that team president Larry Bird would attempt to send the guard on his way as soon as possible after going from the starting unit to becoming the third-string back-up.

Coach Jim O'Brien said Friday that Ford doesn't feature into any of the future plans with the team and the coach assumes that Ford will land on another team within the next month. He also did Bird's job by sending out some great PR about how lucky a team would be to have Ford on their roster. Does O'Brien sell used cars during his off-days?

Here's what O'Brien told the Indianapolis Star before Friday's win in Detroit.

"I don't think there's any doubt (that a trade is possible)," O'Brien said. "He's a quality point guard. He could really help another franchise. It's not my decision to say what Larry decides, but certainly, I think we'd be open-minded.

"He's the third point guard in our rotation. We like what Earl is giving us at the starting position, and we're trying to grow a rookie. We think we have a guy in A.J. Price that is going to be a very solid long-term point guard for us, and we wanted to make sure we knew exactly where he was."

I expect Bird's phone is just ringing off the hook this weekend with GM's clamoring over the thought of acquiring a point guard that is behind on the depth chart to Travis Diener. Now, in an attempt to conduct my own PR push, there are teams that might suit Ford's style of play obviously, and exponentially, better than how Ford plays in JOB's offensive and defensive schemes. I wouldn't find it difficult to believe that someone can buy into the theory that Ford's psyche and playing abilities have been squashed under O'Brien's reign of terror coaching in Indiana. But sometimes that ploy only goes so far. Do we really know at this point if Ford will ever succeed under a system that allows him to freely play the way he wants to? Will he magically be gifted with the drive, determination and leadership to take a team to new heights. Eh, probably not. But, hey, calling all GM's out there: T.J. Ford is great! And don't forget about our power forward named Troy Murphy!

Ford, who makes $8.5 million this year and has a player option for $8.5 million next season, is averaging 9.9 points and 3.6 assists this season. More links after the jump.