June 26th, 2008 – Dr. Anklesnap
Well we have our first significant off-season trade folks! Earlier this week we reported the ongoing trade discussions between the Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers regarding a potential Jermaine O’Neal for TJ Ford swap. Well as of yesterday evening the deal is official. Provided both players pass their medical exams, next season Jermaine O’Neal will be sharing the front court with Chris Bosh and TJ Ford will be adding a scoring punch to the backcourt of the Indiana Pacers.
In the deal Indiana has agreed to send Jermaine O’Neal and their 41st draft pick to the Raptors in exchange for TJ Ford, the expiring contract of Rasho Nesterovic, Maceo Baston and the Raptors #17 pick in today’s 2008 NBA Draft. From the emails The Hoop Doctors have received in response to our report on the trade discussions, Toronto Raptors fans seem to be fairly excited about this move. In the few emails we received from Pacers fans, the majority were anxious to be rid of their malcontent superstar.
Now that O’Neal is coming to town, questions will arise in Toronto about how Sam Mitchell will integrate their acquisition with the former #1 pick, Italian player Andrea Bargnani. While some who are unhappy with the progress of Bargnani since being drafted will be hoping he is moved to the bench, others who view Bargnani as having the potential of being a 7-foot tall shooting dynamo like Dirk Nowitzki, will be seeking a shift of Bargnani from the 4/5 spot, to a starting role at the small forward position. There is a lot to be worked out before the start of next season for the Raptors. Questions will arise about whether or not Bargnani has the foot speed to guard other small forwards, or whether O’Neal can stay healthy manning the Center position for a full 82 games. But before we get ahead of ourselves, could there be more changes coming in Toronto before the fall?
As for Indiana, one would assume TJ Ford will take over the starting role at point guard for the Pacers. So what does that mean for Jamaal Tinsley? It will be interesting to see what other moves the Pacers make this summer or whether they plan to bring the oft-injured Tinsley off the bench behind Ford. The slashing Ford should excel in Indiana where he is now surrounded by shooters who can spread the floor even further for him to penetrate. Players such as Mike Dunleavy and Danny Granger came on strong last season, both proving they are big-time NBA scoring threats. With the biggest gap for the Pacers being in the front court, they will undoubtedly be looking to get some serviceable big men for rebounding and shot blocking in the draft. The Pacers now hold the #11 and #17 picks in tonight’s NBA Draft.
Now that the first blockbuster trade has been announced, what else is in store before the week is out?