June 24th, 2008 – Dr. Dime
Last night I was thinking about the latest trade rumor involving the Indiana Pacers franchise player Jermaine O’Neal and the Toronto Raptors. For some odd reason every time I thought “O’Neal to the Raps” my mind kept trailing off to the recently surfaced “O’Neal Raps!” video on TMZ that we reported in our Daily Dimes, showing big Shaquille O’Neal rapping in a club about everything from Kobe not being able to win the title without him, to ruining his marriage, to having had a vasectomy…..etc…. etc….
That is why I love Shaq. He is not afraid of a little controversy and he is definitely not afraid to piss people off (then again if you were 7’2”, 350lbs would you be?). I know a lot of people out there may find the video extremely crude and unnecessary. Some will say it is an attempt at getting the spotlight back, due to his declining skill and increasing age. For me though, it is just Shaq being his usual entertaining self, giving us what we want…a little fuel to the fire in the Shaq-Kobe feud. And I must say his rap skills have dramatically improved from his days of putting out rap albums such as ‘Shaq Diesel’ and ‘Shaq-fu Da Return’ in the early 90’s. Keep up the freestylin’ my man. What we need now is Kobe to grab the mic and have a freestyle battle. Hell if Shaq was still in Miami we could turn this sucker into a Biggie-Pac, East Coast vs. West Coast battle.
Anyways if we come back to the planet earth for a moment, here are some thoughts on the possible T.J. Ford trade rumor that has surfaced in the past couple days, as we approach the NBA draft on June 26th:
Jermaine O’Neal | TJ Ford
Many people familiar with the discussions have said in the last 48 hours that Larry Bird of the Indiana Pacers is working hard to move Jermaine O’Neal. One of the more intense discussions Bird has had is with Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo regarding an O’Neal for TJ Ford trade. The Raptors would have to give up Ford, the expiring contract of Center Rasho Nesterovic, and their #17 first round draft pick in this year’s draft. Although Colangelo seems intent on moving Ford, and sources say is very open to the Pacers offer, the sticking point seems to be Colangelo’s ongoing talks with the Phoenix Suns for a possible Ford-Diaw trade as we reported a few days ago.
After the injuries to both Ford and O’Neal over the past few years, this trade on the surface seems to be a transaction to move ‘Mr. Glass’ for ‘Mr. Glass’, but if you look closely at each of the team’s needs this could be a high risk/high reward situation for both clubs. Toronto seriously lacks the inside presence to ever be a legitimate contender as currently constructed. They are extremely poor rebounders on both ends of the floor. If O’Neal can stay healthy he is an immediate solution to this problem as he has shown that even when he’s not 100% healthy he is still one of the top rebounders in the NBA today. If he does get back to his old self and can be 100% healthy, that reward for the Raptors would be well worth the risk in trading for him. Remember O’Neal is only 29 years old and is not far removed from being an NBA All-Star and averaging 20 and 10.
The Pacers are in a similar situation. Over the past few years Jamaal Tinsley has shown signs of brilliance, but more often then not has been a distraction both on and off the court. Couple Tinsley’s distractions with constant injury issues of his own, and it shows the Pacers biggest gap is at the point guard spot. Ford is just the man to get the Pacers organization back on the right track. Although it is also a high risk move trading for Ford due to his injury prone neck and spine, no great reward comes without any risk. Although Colangelo and the Raptors have shown their desire to keep point guard Jose Calderon as their #1 option at the point that does not mean Ford is not destined to be a star point guard in this league. Calderon just happens to be a better fit for the style of offense that the Raptors are trying to play. Ford is a high energy, scoring point guard, and he’s a much better passer than he’s often given credit for. Heck, last year he averaged a 6.1-2.0 assist to turnover ratio. That may not have been as good as Calderon in that department, but it was still one of the higher rated averages among point guards in the league. Ford is a great slasher, and has substantially improved his jumper, where he still needs improvement is his 3-point shot and shot selection. Often times late in close games he tries too hard to take over the game on his own, taking away from the team concept.
I think this trade would be beneficial for both teams, but I don’t blame Colangelo in the least for putting this Ford trade option on hold, until I hear a conclusive ‘no way’ from the Phoenix Suns organization on a possible Ford-Diaw swap. Diaw is just the type of versatile player the Raptors need to get over the hump in all of those close games the Raptors lost last year in the final minutes.
O’Neal or Diaw? You decide Raps fans.