Pacers Acquire O'Neal, Kleine

by Jeff Tzucker
by Conrad Brunner

August 31, 2001

INDIANAPOLIS, August 31, 2001 -- The
Indiana Pacers announced Thursday that they have acquired 6-11,
248-pound forward
Jermaine O'Neal
and 7-0, 270-pound center Joe Kleine from the Portland
Trail Blazers in exchange for veteran forward Dale Davis.

Jermaine O'Neal

O'Neal

"This is an attempt on our part to put talent and youth on our team so that we're in a position to go forward in the future as well as to be highly competitive in the present," said Pacers President Donnie Walsh.

"Jermaine O'Neal is a legitimate 6-11 forward/center, 21 years
old, who has been in the league four years and we think can develop
into a terrific player for the Indiana Pacers. Joe Kleine will add
some depth to our center position.

Dale Davis

Davis

"It was a hard decision to trade Dale Davis because of all he has done for the franchise. But this was an opportunity to get a young player who has a great deal of talent and skill and size to help our franchise in the future. I'm excited Dale will be joining a contending team in the Portland Trail
Blazers and we are all excited to have a player of Jermaine's
caliber here at the Indiana Pacers."

O'Neal, a first-round pick (17th overall) of the Blazers in 1996
as a high schooler, has averaged 3.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in
11.5 minutes per game over his four years, while playing behind
established veterans
Arvydas Sabonis
,
Rasheed Wallace
, Brian
Grant
and Detlef
Schrempf
. Kleine is a 15-year veteran who has averaged 4.8 ppg
and 4.1 rpg in his career.

"I think Jermaine O'Neal's quickness and shot-blocking ability
will give us tremendous versatility on defense and I think he's the
type of player that will fit into the style we're trying to develop
here in terms of an up-tempo team," said Pacers Coach Isiah Thomas.

"He can play three positions: small forward, power forward and
some center. I think he adds to the nucleus of our young team,
which will probably be the most exciting young group of guys to
watch grow up as a team. When you look at Travis Best, Jalen Rose, Jonathan Bender, Austin Croshere, Al Harrington, Jeff Foster and O'Neal, I
think the future is very bright here."

"We would like to thank Dale Davis for all of his hard work
during the last several years," said Pacers General Manager David
Kahn. "He was a big part of the franchise's success. Now we
anticipate Jermaine O'Neal being part of our success in years to
come."

Davis was a first-round pick (13th overall) of the Pacers in
1991. In nine seasons, he has averaged 9.4 points and 9.0 rebounds
per game. Last season, Davis averaged 10.0 points and 9.9 rebounds
while being named for the first time to the NBA's All-Star
team.

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