HOOPSWORLD.COM: It’s funny, we look at website traffic trends a lot because it helps us understand what readers are looking for and where to put resources. Kobe Bryant is always a hot topic, everyone reads a Kobe story. Kevin Garnett also huge traffic guy. Jermaine O’Neal? Not so much.
The recent stories from LA that painted Jermaine as wanting to be traded were not that popular, maybe because most of the storyline was fabricated by the writers at other publications – Jermaine was very clear in what he wants; we were there, we have the audio of the entire conversation.
Jermaine wants to win in Indiana – just like Kevin Garnett did in Minnesota – Jermaine has a connection to the team that gave him a chance and wants badly to win in Indiana. He is not naive enough to believe that the team as constructed is a winner, but he feels he owes it to try. That’s said, Jermaine knows how the business of the NBA works and he knows the closer he gets to his opt-out clause the more temptation the Pacers will have in trading him.
IF the Pacers were to trade him, he’d like to be in LA or in New Jersey, and while some may have heard that phrase to mean he wants to be traded today, Jermaine wants to win in Indiana. Pacers sources have been very clear on where the team is at on JO; they have built a team around him, they brought in a veteran coach to help Jermaine get as deep into the playoffs as possible and they’ll see what happens. If The Pacers were tossing in the towel Jermaine would be gone already. He hasn’t been traded because the Pacers don’t want to trade him.
Now, in February that story may change, but don’t get caught up in the manufactured press on this. Jermaine O’Neal will be in Pacers training camp in October and unless someone swoops in with a can’t-miss offer, Jermaine will likely be a Pacer in April. From there it becomes all about business not basketball.