Draft Day Rumor Mill Churning for Pacers

Editor's Note: With tonight's NBA Draft fast approaching, we gathered as many Pacers-related trade rumors as we could find. We can't attest to their accuracy or validity but they do make interesting reading.


The New Jersey Nets delivered a proposal of Richard Jefferson, Nenad Krstic and Jason Collins to the Pacers for Jermaine O'Neal, multiple league sources said Thursday. Krstic is rehabilitating a torn ACL suffered early last season, but is expected to be back for the start of the season. There isn't any draft day urgency to the deal because no picks are involved, so if the scenario does advance, sources expect it would not happen until July.

ESPN.com, June 28

New Jersey Nets forward Richard Jefferson said the team has told him he won't be moved despite rumors of a trade to Indiana with Nenad Krstic for Jermaine O'Neal. "They told me that they would keep us together,'' Jefferson said of Vince Carter and Jason Kidd. "They said don't believe all the talk. We're not trading you. They said they want to keep the team together. I want to stay. I want to win games in New York.'' ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports that NBA front-office sources say the Indiana Pacers are still considering the deal.


Indiana will take the Lakers' prime trade bait — Odom and Bynum — for Jermaine O'Neal, so they just need to find a club that wants O'Neal and has a package of picks, youth and expiring salaries to satisfy Minnesota. And as the Suns are realizing, Atlanta has all that — plus a willingness to change right now if it could field a legit trio such as O'Neal, Joe Johnson and Josh Smith without parting with anything but potential.

Here are two fully workable scenarios that would bring Garnett to the Lakers — and a new lead guard to run the triangle, to boot:

  • The Lakers give Odom, Bynum, Kwame Brown, Brian Cook, Sasha Vujacic and the No. 19 pick to get Garnett and Marko Jaric. The Timberwolves give Garnett and Jaric to get Jefferson, Wally Szczerbiak, Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff and the No. 5 pick. The Celtics give Jefferson, Szczerbiak, Telfair, Ratliff and No. 5 to get Odom, Kirilenko and Cook. The Jazz gives Kirilenko to get Bynum, Brown and No. 19.
  • The Lakers give Odom, Bynum, Brown, Vujacic and No. 19 to get Garnett and Tyronn Lue. The Timberwolves give Garnett, Troy Hudson and No. 41 to get Josh Childress, Shelden Williams, Brown, Vujacic, Lorenzen Wright, Anthony Johnson, the No. 3 pick and the No. 11 pick. The Pacers give O'Neal, Jamaal Tinsley, Darrell Armstrong and Orien Greene to get Odom, Bynum, Hudson, Speedy Claxton and No. 41. The Hawks give Childress, Williams, Lue, Claxton, Wright, Johnson, No. 3 and No. 11 for O'Neal, Tinsley, Armstrong, Greene and No. 19.

    There have been no talks between the Lakers and Indiana Pacers in recent days, suggesting that trade talks for Pacers forward-center Jermaine O'Neal remain stalled.

    NEW YORK TIMES, June 28

    Bryant made his trade request last month, and the Lakers have been trying to upgrade the talent around him instead. When a deal fell through earlier in the week that included Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom, reports centered around the Lakers again targeting Indiana’s O’Neal. But yesterday evening, the Indiana executive Donnie Walsh said there was “no validity” in a deal with the Lakers.


    Player uncertainty was a major issue. Players increasingly have a major voice in deals even though no-trade clauses aren't in many NBA contracts.

    Marion said he wouldn't re-sign with Boston, which apparently scared the Celtics off in an earlier Garnett-to-Phoenix combination. Likewise, Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal said he didn't want to go to Boston and he has an opt-out clause after next season. O'Neal, though, remained in play late Wednesday with several teams talking to the Pacers, including the New Jersey Nets offering Richard Jefferson.

    MIAMI HERALD, June 28

    If Miami deals the No. 20 pick, possible suitors could be teams without first-round selections like Indiana, Orlando, Dallas, Cleveland, Toronto and Denver.

    Indiana president Larry Bird and Cleveland general manager Danny Ferry said they have talked with teams willing to part with first-round picks.


    The New Jersey Nets have offered the Indiana Pacers Nenad Krstic and Richard Jefferson for Jermaine O'Neal. For now, though, Indiana is holding off on it.

    Houston is exploring a few trades, with the most interesting rumor being swapping their #26 pick for Ike Diogu and filler.


    If the Lakers get left out in the cold on a KG deal ... what's the next move? They could probably wrangle Zach Randolph from the Blazers for Lamar Odom. Or they could send Odom, Andrew Bynum and the No. 19 pick to Indiana for Jermaine O'Neal. If forced to choose, the Lakers would probably prefer Randolph because he would cost them much less. Apparently there is significant interest in Bynum, which could net the Lakers a top-10 pick in the draft.

    BOSTON HERALD, June 27

    According to involved sources, the C’s were asked about their interest in Jermaine O’Neal, but that conversation ended when the words “Al” and “Jefferson” were spoken by the Pacers. That means anything heard about Jefferson and the fifth overall pick going out and O’Neal coming back is preposterous. The Celts would have some interest in O’Neal at a different price, but they are not going to alter their main core significantly to get him.


    The Lakers have other moves, just none that are good enough. They could trade Bynum and Odom for Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal, which they don't want to do and isn't likely to make them an elite team.


    With their bid to land Minnesota's Kevin Garnett all but dead, which can't make Kobe Bryant very happy, the Lakers yesterday restarted trade talks with Indiana about acquiring Jermaine O'Neal.

    "O'Neal is available and the Lakers are interested," said an Eastern Conference GM last night. "That's what's being discussed now."

    In recent weeks the two teams haven't been able to reach an agreement over which players would go to the Pacers for the 6-11 forward/center. The Pacers have insisted that the Lakers include teenage center Andrew Bynum in a deal with Lamar Odom, while the Lakers would be willing to part with Bynum only in a trade package for Garnett. But Minnesota wants more for Garnett.

    With the Lakers moving onto O'Neal, the Suns stepped up their efforts to get Garnett. In a proposed three-way deal, the Celtics would get the Suns' Shawn Marion and Minnesota would land the Celtics' No. 5 pick in tomorrow's draft, along with a collection of players entering the final year of their contracts. For the deal to work, however, Marion would have to agree to a long-term extension with Boston. He can opt out of his contract after this coming season.

    O'Neal had been part of a four-way mega-deal that would have sent Garnett to the Lakers. But that deal collapsed late Monday, reportedly because O'Neal did not want to go to the Celtics. There was also a question as to whether Boston wanted to pick up the remaining $63 million on O'Neal's contract over the next three years. But the source insisted that the Celtics are also involved in talks for O'Neal and would be willing to part with the fifth pick as part of a package.

    The Pacers are open to moving O'Neal, although teams such as the Knicks who covet him don't have the pieces.


    Speaking of Indiana, there is some chatter going on between them and Atlanta as well, specifically surrounding moving Jermaine O’Neal for a package including Josh Smith, the #11 pick, Speedy Claxton and salary cap filler. In that scenario the Hawks would likely take a point guard (Mike Conley Jr.) with the 3rd pick. Indiana will also be looking at point guards if they acquire another pick as they have long ago fallen out of love with Jamal Tinsley.