Pacers Acquire O'Neal, Kleine

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

"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

"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.