Here's a sampling of what NBA analysts from around the Web are saying about Wednesday's eight-player trade between the Pacers and Warriors that brought Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy, Ike Diogu and Keith McLeod to Indiana and sent Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, Sarunas Jasikevicius and Josh Powell to Golden State.
JOHN HOLLINGER | ESPN.com Insider
On the surface, this looks like a classic "grass-is-greener" trade.
Contrary to the expectations of many, Dunleavy and Murphy haven't meshed with new coach Don Nelson and his wide-open system, though Dunleavy has raised his level of play.
Meanwhile, the mutterings about chemistry problems in Indiana long have centered on Jackson -- especially since his arrest on felony charges in October -- and Harrington has endured an unexpectedly bumpy ride in his first campaign since rejoining the Pacers.
Look a little deeper, though, and you'll see this more as a Trojan horse deal.
Why? Because, while Jackson, Dunleavy, Murphy and Harrington are the four names in all the headlines, the guy who could make the trade a home run for the Pacers is Diogu.
If you take Diogu and Powell out of the trade, this deal starts looking a lot more reasonable -- Golden State upgrades the backcourt a bit, gets a slight improvement in the cap situation, takes on a bad apple in the locker room and makes a slight downgrade from Murphy to Harrington. That seems fair.
But to throw in Diogu on top of it? That's absurd. Or it's genius, if you're looking at it from Indiana's perspective.
The other names are nice and all, but 10 years from now I have a feeling that we'll be looking back on this deal as the Ike Diogu trade. And if you're a Warriors fan, you probably won't be looking back fondly.
MARC STEIN | ESPN.com
I suppose that I still have to pick a team that "won" this one, so I have to go with Golden State at first glance, mainly because the Warriors were able to move two albatross contracts (Dunleavy's ranking worse than Murphy's) without being forced to part with Baron Davis, Jason Richardson, Monta Ellis, Andris Biedrins, Mickael Pietrus or even Matt Barnes ... and selfishly because Nellie has a history of getting beaucoup production from guys named Sarunas (see: Marciulionis).
To be swayed back in Indiana's direction would require knowing that Diogu will definitely turn out to be a player . . . or knowing how O'Neal's future will play out, with JO and management still on course for an end-of-season date to re-assess their futures together . . . or knowing for certain that the Pacers could now move Dunleavy to the Clippers for Corey Maggette. Informed sources in L.A. insist that the Clips won't do that deal even if Clips coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. keeps lobbying for it.
JEFF WELTMAN | Scouts Inc.
I don't see this deal making either a team to fear, but both are idling around the .500 mark and at least get a shot in the arm.
Diogu is the lone impact player -- or possible impact player -- in the deal who's yet to reach his potential. He could prove to be the most valuable player in the trade, especially given that he has two seasons remaining on his rookie deal after this one.
If Diogu can become a significant low-post scorer for Indiana, he could (alongside the likes of Danny Granger, David Harrison and Shawne Williams) become an important piece of the foundation for the next generation of Pacers basketball.
KEVIN LOUGHERY | NBA.com
This is a pretty equal trade as far as the top four players – Harrington, Jackson, Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy. I think all of them will play better with their new teams. Murphy and Dunleavy will play better in the East where it’s more of a slow down, halfcourt game. Murphy never fit Don Nelson’s type of player. He likes more versatile players with quickness. Jackson and Harrington will fit that much better and will enjoy playing in the open court game of Nelson and the West much better. On the back end of the deal, Golden State has a slight edge getting Josh Powell and Sarunas Jasikevicius.
CHARLEY ROSEN | Fox Sports.com
So, then, who got the best of the transaction?
Golden State has enhanced the style of play that Nellie favors. Expect more of the same, but at a higher level. Yet the arrival of two more players with gigantic egos (Harrington and Jackson), along with Nelson's propensity to mix-and-match his starters and juggle everybody's playing time will eventually create problems.
To loosen up the logjam of scorers, the Warriors must trade Jason Richardson for a workmanlike big man who can defend and rebound.
The Pacers, meanwhile, have dramatically altered their game plan. Fast breaks are no longer in style, and unselfish ball-movement and ball-sharing will become the norm. Roles will be much more defined. Airheads will no longer be tolerated.
In the long run, the Pacers will become much more syncopated and therefore a much more solid ball club. But the lone remaining loose screw on the squad — Jamaal Tinsley — is advised to either blend in with the new deal, or else not send out his laundry.
It says here that, all things considered, Indiana rates the edge.
CHRIS MANNIX | SI.com
For Indiana, this deal was about making Jermaine O'Neal happy. After being on the cusp of the NBA Finals three years ago, O'Neal was witnessing a slow deterioration of the talent around him and had been giving voice to his concerns. Though this trade may appease O'Neal in the short term, neither Murphy or Dunleavy is the physical post presence O'Neal has been pining for since Brad Miller skipped town.
The wild card in this is Diogu, a supremely talented (if undersized) power forward who is strong around the basket (53 percent from the field) and at the free throw line (79.5 percent). If he can prove to be a capable rebounder (3.7 rebounds per game in just 13.1 minutes), Indiana could plug him in next to O'Neal and occasionally match him up with some of the more physical centers, saving O'Neal from further wear and tear. It's what the Pacers have been trying to get from Jeff Foster, who has a nose for the ball but is not the offensive threat Diogu could prove to be.
MARC NARDUCCI | HoopsHype.com
In short, this is a deal that should help both teams, but other than adding more than $30 million in long-term salary than they traded, this could enable the Pacers to make a move upwards in the Eastern Conference.
The Pacers can’t still be considered among the favorites, but they could be improved and in the Eastern Conference that might be enough to earn at least home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Indiana was 20-18, the sixth best record in the Eastern Conference at the time of the trade.
The winner of this deal will be the team that gets the most from the perceived second man in the trade – Dunleavy and Jackson.
Harrington should flourish in Nelson’s system and continue to be a highly productive player. Murphy, the key for Indiana, should also return to his double-double status playing for Carlisle. That leaves the play of Jackson and Dunleavy as two major question marks. Both have been disappointing, but Jackson more for his off-the-court behavior.
Dunleavy meanwhile hasn’t seemed to enjoy playing the game and if he can recapture his enthusiasm and become revitalized by the trade, then Indiana would have made a good deal. And Jackson also will be happy to play in a system that suits his game.
Both teams are rolling the dice. Then again, it would have been a worse gamble for each of these teams to stand pat and continue their inconsistent ways.
TONY MEJIA | CBS Sportsline.com
Roughly halfway through the season, Indiana and Golden State decided that hovering around .500 isn't going to be good enough. So two teams who didn't like where they were going opted to trade for one another's headaches.
In the process, the Warriors strengthened their talent base and the Pacers made a play for improved chemistry.
Indiana has faced a chemistry issue since before Reggie Miller retired. Sometimes, a shakeup is necessary -- and it might not stop here. Considering O'Neal has openly stated that he would be open to a trade if the team remains stuck in mediocrity, this could just be the first in a series of moves to put a new face on a franchise that has underachieved since reaching the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals.
JEFF LENCHINER | InsideHoops.com
The deal was made more for the sake of making a change than actually attempting to accomplish something.
<p.At least the Warriors got out of some bad contracts, those of Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy, the two prime Warriors to not fit into Don Nelson's offense. Murphy has also been battling injury this season.
I say the Warriors won this trade. Because they got the best individual player involved in the deal, Al Harrington. And, they cleared over $30 million in future contract money owed. ... This trade could help both teams, but I give the edge to Golden State. And in general, both of these teams are stuck in the middle of the pack and have many more moves to make if they want to go deep into the playoffs and even think of competing for a championship.
PETER VECSEY | New York Post
Tuesday's trade of four Warriors for four Pacers was all about dumping toxic Stephen Jackson and catering to the styles of two coaches. Well, maybe not all about, but that pretty much sums up its motivation.
So possessed were the Pacers to junk Jackson in hopes of helping restore law and order on and off the court, and, consequently, become more appealing to the community, they sacrificed Al Harrington and assumed roughly $30 million in additional contract obligation over the next four seasons belonging to Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy.
That's how badly CEO Donnie Walsh and president Larry Bird wanted Jackson deported. Yes, his remaining $24M debt (this season plus three more) could've been bought out, but management didn't feel the assembly of talent was good enough, big enough or tough enough to get any where worthwhile in the playoffs.
At the same time, by tweezing Rick Carlisle's unremittingly irritating ingrown hair, Walsh and Bird have removed any excuse their coach might have for a job undone. His structured system has turned off many a core player over 3 1/2 seasons, including Jackson and Har rington. Swapping their ath leticism and spontaneous combustion, both positive and negative, for improved complementary pieces to Jermaine O'Neal - consulted on the deal prior to it going down, according to a source - means Carlisle got what he wanted, more coachable, more meticulous, deeper thinkers.