So what is the best trade in the history of the Indiana Pacers?
I appreciate all of the comments on the site, Twitter and Facebook pondering some of the big deals in Pacers history. The team's transaction history doesn't include a no-brainer, franchise-altering deal that put the key piece in place for a championship run, let alone a championship. But there have been several great deals that kept the Pacers success evolving throughout the past 20 years or so.
For me, the sharpest deal among the Pacers' trade history was the deal to move forward after the aging '90's generation of Pacers made an appearance in the NBA Finals.
August 31, 2000: Traded Dale Davis to the Portland Trail Blazers for Joe Kleine and Jermaine O'Neal.
This deal was big on a few levels, and again, I would love to read a post or three making the case for several other key deals throughout the team's history. But flipping DD for a young J.O. turned out to be a stroke of genius by Donnie Walsh.
The first time I saw J.O. in person, he received a pass in the post on the right side of the lane, made an ultra-quick spin move toward the middle then made an open shot. His defender was left in the dust and quite frankly, no post defender would've caught up with that move. I recall thinking, "Uh, oh. This guy is much better than I expected." I can only assume that Donnie Walsh enjoyed the same play with his hands clasped in front of him showing the very early signs of a smile.
In the end, we learned J.O. couldn't carry a team into title contention on his own, but he was certainly a player capable of big role on a championship team. In fact, he played on teams with the talent to compete for a championship. Unfortunately, they didn't have the championship mettle or toughness to let that talent flourish. And it wasn't just one incident that fouled things up. That crew has more than enough chances to get their junk together and were never able to come together and put the team ahead of individual interests.
But that wasn't all J.O. and those teams in the early 2000's wouldn't have had the success they were able to attain without #7. Plus, the trade continues to impact the Pacers 12 years later. Once O'Neal became overpaid while struggling to remain healthy enough to play, the Pacers flipped him in a deal that landed current Pacers center Roy Hibbert among a few other more high-profile parts.
So now Hibbert carries on a third generation of post-presence for the Pacers directly linked through trades from Dale Davis to Jermaine O'Neal to Roy Hibbert. Let's just hope the Pacers aren't put in a position to flip Hibbert for a fourth generation in the post at the end of his freshly signed, 4-year deal.
Again, thanks for all of the input no the deals and please share your thoughts on other deals that made an impact on the organization.