Monday June 23 2008 – 1:25pm Eastern
According to the Toronto Star’s Doug Smith … the Raptors are in talks with the Indiana Pacers regarding a potential big-time deal.
Sources have told Smith that Toronto is looking to send TJ Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, and the 17TH pick in this year’s draft to Indy in exchange for Jermaine O’Neal.
O’Neal hasn’t played more than 65 games in 3 of his last 4 seasons. In fact, in three of the last four he has played 51 or less (due mainly to injury – and suspension (remember the brawl in Detroit?))
He’s coming off his worst season in the last 6-7 years, averaging just 13.6 points and 6. rebounds in just over 28 minutes of action. But he was riddled by injuries last year and that clearly affected his production.
There’s no denying that – when healthy – O’Neal would be a huge asset to the Raptors front court. He can bang down low, he’s a solid rebounder, and he’s got good range on his jumper as well. The former All Star would be an amazing 1-2 punch alongside Chris Bosh.
It should be noted that … my understanding is that the Raptors cannot trade their 1ST round pick outright. NBA rules stipulate that you cannot trade your first round pick in back to back seasons. Thus, if Toronto were to make this deal, they’d either have to (a) select a player on Indy’s behalf – and then make the deal on draft night, or (b) make the trade after draft night.
Should be interesting to see how this all shakes out. Whether THIS deal ends up happening or not remains to be seen … but there’s no doubt that Bryan Colangelo and the Raps are very active in the trade market.