Jermaine O’Neal to the Raptors

» June 25, 2008 6:03 PM | By Brandon Hoffman

Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Indiana Pacers have agreed in principle to send six-time All-Star Jermaine O’Neal to the Toronto Raptors for point guard T.J. Ford and the 17th pick in Thursday’s NBA draft.  Toronto also will send Rasho Nesterovic and another role player to match up with O’Neal’s salary. O’Neal is owed $44 million over the next two seasons.

O’Neal has played in an average of 52 games the previous four seasons because of injuries, illnesses and suspensions.  Jermaine underwent surgery in 2007 to repair a torn meniscus cartilage.  He attempted a comeback this season but was forced to shut it down after suffering a bruise to his surgically repaired left knee.

Ford is a talented point guard but if O’Neal can make a full recovery, this will be a steal for the Toronto Raptors.

I had the opportunity to watch Jermaine O’Neal live in what may have been his best NBA season.  On March 7, 2004 O’Neal and the Pacers played the Nuggets in Denver.  Jermaine put up 31 points and 10 rebounds in a 103-94 win.  I remember the game vividly.

Two things stick out the most:

1.  Carmelo Anthony — a rookie at the time — absolutely torched Ron Artest.  Artest would go on to win the Defensive Player of the Year.

2.  Jermaine O’Neal was incredibly versatile.  He scored on an assortment of postmoves.  With his back to the basket, he also possessed a deadly fadeaway jumpshot from twenty feet.

O’Neal, Artest, Al Harrington, and Reggie Miller (the fourth leading scorer) led the Pacers to the best record in the NBA that season.  Jermaine finished third in the MVP voting.

At twenty-nine years of age, O’Neal has plenty of time to turn his career around.  Given Jermaine’s age and his talent level, this was a  potential reward that is worth the risk for Toronto.

With two All-Star pivotmen (JO, Chris Bosh) and up-and-coming point guard Jose Calderon running the show, the Toronto Raptors are going to be a force in the East.


10 Responses to “Jermaine O’Neal to the Raptors”

  1. A-Train Says:

    The young O’Neal was promising, but this version is finished. Really, it’s sad because the guy had a world of potential, but came up incredibly short.

    Now, I don’t know what he is. He’s like a right-handed Zach Randolph, but with a worse shot and better defense.

    In the past five years, only once has he shot better than 45% from the field in a season (47% in 2006). I mean, for a 6-foot-11 post guy, that’s awful.

    He’s an average foul shooter, at best. He commits about three errors per game.

    Overall, a talented yet highly inefficient player. But I think this is a good risk for Toronto. As you noted, he’s 29 and can still put together a handful of serviceable seasons. He’s basically there to take pressure off of Bosh, who is 100 percent a finesse forward. Basically, all O’Neal has to do is stay healthy.

    But that’s a big if.

    Ford is going to go nuts in Indiana with Dunleavy and Granger on the wings. I’m thinking averages of 16 points, 9 assists, 3 steals.

  2. Hoffman Says:

    A-Train,

    O’Neal is more KG than Duncan. He’s a midrange jumpshooter. I didn’t want to mention this in the blog because I figured I’d be skewered but O’Neal’s back-to-the-basket fadeaway from the corners in 2004 was the best I had seen since MJ. He had the move down that cold. I liked Ford in Milwaukee but I still think this was a GREAT move by Toronto. They traded their backup point guard for a legitimate All-Star center.

  3. nunya Says:

    O’Neal is overrated..he is NOT a centre and he is not an All Star.

    I HATE this deal for Toronto….

  4. Hoffman Says:

    nunya,

    O’Neal is six time All-Star. In fact, he was an All-Star just last season. I understand your concerns but if he makes a full recovery, I think you could be pleasantly surprised.

  5. King_kaun Says:

    great deal for Toronto. Let’s not forget: O’Neal will be playing for a new contract in the next two seasons. If he sucks, then say hello to 22 mil in cap freedom. If he does great, they can resign him for a more reasonable pricetag!

    T.J. Ford will just get injured again…the real steal here is the # 17 draft pick. A whole slew of good players could be available at that spot, depending how the first 16 picks go down!

    I can’t wait for the draft!!!!!

  6. Tsunami Says:

    Yeah how can this be BAD for Toronto? TJ Ford is not the answer at point guard for that team – they gave away 2 guys that weren’t going to be part of their core and added a guy that brings some toughness and rebounding to a soft team.

  7. Basketballogy Says:

    A-Train, he’s the second coming of Danny Manning: great talent, poor healthy.

    Did you all read that Yi has been traded to the Nets for Jefferson?

  8. Hoffman Says:

    Basketballogy,

    Yes, I noticed the Jefferson trade. I think it was a good move for the Nets. I’m not an RJ fan. I’m sure you’ve read this but the trade will allow New Jersey the cap space to make a run at LeBron in 2010.

  9. Big Mike Says:

    I’m still trying to understand how this is a bad trade for the Raptors? This could end up being a steal for them, IF Jermaine is healthy. Don’t tell me about his contract, it’s got 2 years left and gives the Raps a ton of space for the 09′-10 offseason that will have a crop of stars. O’neal had to get out of Indiana, he still felt all the residuals from the 2004 brawl, I see this as a wake up call trade. He’s rehabing hard down in Vegas, and at 29 is still young. If the Raps get the 20 and 10 O’neal, couple that with Bosh, Jose, and their talented shooters, they’ll make noise in the East.

  10. Daz D Says:

    Jermaine O’neal is overrated!!

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