J. O’Neal backpedals from weekend interview

IndyStar.com: Indiana Pacers forward Jermaine O’Neal has discounted Internet reports that he wants to be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.

“My preference is to play here and win here,” O’Neal said in a telephone interview after returning from Los Angeles on Monday afternoon, attempting to deflate a brewing controversy that had brought clarifying statements from Pacers president Larry Bird and O’Neal’s agent, Arn Tellem.

O’Neal appeared at — but did not play in — a charity basketball game Sunday hosted by NBA stars Baron Davis and Paul Pierce. There he talked with reporters from Web sites for Sports Illustrated and ESPN.

Both accounts quoted him expressing a desire to be traded to the Lakers.

“It’s time for me to move on,” O’Neal was quoted in the ESPN story. “And the Lakers are the team I want Indiana to trade me to.”

O’Neal added the Pacers are “obviously” in a rebuilding mode, and he did not want to “take in five years of losses and downtime.” He added he also would favor a trade to New Jersey.

Bird has had trade discussions with both teams regarding O’Neal this summer. A draft day conversation with the Nets was brief, however, and he has not talked with the Lakers since early July.

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Jaime is the co-owner and Operating Director for LakerNation.com from Alhambra, CA. He's help create the official websites for Kevin Durant and Goodwin Sports. Currently, he's the Online Producer for FOX Sports Radio and AM570 KLAC.
  • SILO

    Hey JO! MAKE UP UR DAMN MIND! DONT PULL A KG! I DONT WANNA PLAY IN BOSTON!

    BESIDES I JUST STARTED A MIX ON YOU SO DONT SCREW IT UP.

  • BEC

    That article is so full of BS, absolute crap, the Pacers are just making JO say this crap, so they can gain some leverage they lost from JOs other statements.
    “Contrary to his quotes in the Internet stories, he said the Pacers are not rebuilding.” WTF?!?! I know JO did not intend or say that bull.
    When you got 8 players on your team with 3 years or less of NBA experience, guess what, YOU ARE REBUILDING A**H***!!!!

    This article is a joke and Bird is screwed and so is your friend McHale, have fun losing for the next ten years.

  • http://www.youtube.com/darkice18 dark_ice18

    LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIIIIIIIRE!!!!!

  • Rpoc

    Oh snaps did he just pull a Kobe!

  • fatty

    If it wasn’t for JO mouthing off in LA, we would have no idea of any trade possibilty.

    1st – Jo speaks out strongly

    2nd – Bird responds publickly, (very unusual, not denying trade possibility)

    3rd – Agent jumps in with carefully worded rebuttal to JO

    4th – JO reportedly rebutts original interview

    Results:

    1st – Blogs in Indy and LA, go wild with activity

    2nd – News orgs. speculate

    Interpretation:

    Almost all trades this year have been very quiet and secret. JO changed that by prematurely speaking excitedly about coming to LA. If you look back on KG trade, rumors started to fly when the deal was almost completed. This is not the case with this one. The “Deal” is not that far along.

    Prognosis:

    Both sides are very serious about a trade. Indy is threatening to call JO’s bluff of opting, claiming plan B, free cap money is not so bad. More value for JO can be had by a trade. The Lakers and Pacers know this. So they are working toward this. JO has made his intentions well known to Indy and has taken that step publicly. There is a good chance this trade will happen. Indy has been postering this trade concept to its fans. The fans have already closed the door on JO (per the blogs)

    My caution to me:

    “The deal is not done, till the deal is done” – Laker GM Mitch Kupchak

    Who will the players be? Not sure, but let the debate continue in all earnest.

    PS. Fatty will be on the road for the next 5 days with little chance to contribute. Have fun bringing JO to LA, one post at a time.

  • fatty

    One more thought.

    The next rumor will be Phoenix announcing that they now want JO and will better any offer of the Lakers. I live here, its how they do business. They are very afraid of a Kobe, PJ led Lakers. They know with one more piece like JO, the Lakers will put the title out of reach for them, and will try and sabotage any Laker deal.

    Kobe Haters Proved Wrong.

    Kobe haters with Ric Bucher leading the way have said nobody wants to play with Kobe and Kobe will never play with the Lakers again. JO smashed that theory and lie with his interview in LA. Listen to his interview for all the proof you need.

  • kingkb24
  • Pedro La Pacas

    Mitch please don’t screw this up, we as Laker Fans want to be back on top. You promised us improvement through trade, draft, and Free Agency. You have delivered on the Free Agency and draft but the biggest one of all is the trade. The trade is key to our success and is the most important of those three. Do your job, give up Bynum, don’t give up LO, and acquire JO.

  • lakerfan81

    I agree with Fatty. I think there is a deal being sought by both sides. If y ou look at what Bird said, and what JO and his agent said (the rebuttal) it is almost exactly what Taylor said just before Garnett was traded.

    I think there are many things going against NJ getting O’neil The maind one being that they are in the East and Indy will likely trade O’neil out of the conference so they do not have to play him so many times. The other one is that they all keep saying that Jefferson will not be traded. Not sure if you can take them at their word but its what I have to go on.

    Lakers have a better offer.

    Bynum, Critt (or Farmar though I’d rather trade Critt at this point but it would not be a trade killer), Brown, Sasha , Cook (or McKie (S&T for 3.5M)
    for O’neil.
    Two Young talented players in Critt and Bynum and two expiring contracts (Sasha and Brown). Cook would have to be thrown in to match salaries. That would give Indiana 17 players under contract so people would have to be cut, but thats not a big deal. If McKie would agree to a sign and trade for 3.5M that would allow Sasha and cook to be left out so they could just buy out Mckie and they would only have 15 players under contract. Then after next season they can would have a little over 11M off the books.

    (then the Lakers could resign Brown for defensive purposes and depth for the frontcourt).

  • nba analyst

    A real misconception about the NBA here. Trades are made to make teams better or to make them better in the future. They are not made because they are fair. They are made because both sides in the deal think they are getting a better deal. Kupchak has to think at the end of the day that he has a better situation than he did before the deal, the same with Bird. Each guy has to be equally convinced he has made a great deal…not a fair deal.

    Notice that everyone is backpedaling. Sort of makes it obvious Bird holds the cards in the deal. He’ll wait out to see if he can get Jefferson from the Nets and he’ll wait out to see if he can get both Odom and Bynum from the Lakers. Or another team might become interest. In any case, there really isn’t a rush to do anything.

    The Lakers have one chip in the deal as Lakerfan81 points out…..the Nets are loathe to send O’Neal to a team in the East…..for the same reason the Lakers aren’t going to get Artest. You want to see the guy you traded just twice a year.

  • keep24

    At the end of the day one fact remains the same:

    Indiana is holding all the cards and they want too much for O’Neal. Unlike the KB situation, JO will not walk away from $45 Million dollars that he will be owed after the end of this coming season. Indiana is not going to hold a fire sale of any kind, and they don’t have to.

    Their mentality is simple; worst case he will walk away. This should be a note to Lakers management. Indiana not only aims for a “fair trade value” but they demand and will ask more than what is fair for a 29 year old with a serious injury history.

    If you trade the farm away, you wi™ll be a twisted ankle or bruised knee from an OJ Mayo lottery situation. If Bird has the basketBALLS to ask for LO, AB , Brown’™s contract and picks, then when the time comes, and unfortunately it will come, the Lakers should not only gut the Bulls but they should also ask for the Sears Tower and as a signing bonus request that they ship AIR JORDAN’S statue to my backyard.

    It’s only fair because KB is that good!