New J.O.B. for J.O.?

Pacers Better Without Jermaine O’Neal? (ESPN)Our Pacers beat the Dallas Mavericks last night, winning without “star” forward Jermaine O’Neal. This got me thinking about whether or not the Pacers are better off without O’Neal. So I started reading up and doing some research, and I discovered that the Pacers aren’t much worse without the maxed-out star, especially recently (2-0 without him this year). In my opinion, J.O. has been mislabeled.

He’s a star, a great player, but no superstar. He’s especially not a guy that you design your offensive attack around, as he’s a much better defender than offensive player at this point in his career. I think Jermaine bogs down the offense when he plays, and I think he also demands more touches and shot opportunities than he should because of his contract and name. I honestly think we’d be better off trading him, and that he’d be better off as the second, third or fourth option on a championship contender. He also needs to play for a running team, because I think he’s a little to injury prone to play the bruising back-to-the-basket style that Isiah Thomas and Rick Carlisle had him playing for so many years.

Here are a few of my hypothetical trades:

Dallas Mavericks:

Trade 1 - Dallas (RealGM)

I think this is a pretty good trade as well, but we’d have to get a first-round pick back. Especially with us taking on Erick Dampier, a quality back-up center and not much more. Jason Terry would be a tremendous 40-minutes-a-night combo guard in Jim O’Brien‘s system, plus another pick would really help us out talent wise, and maybe even as future trade bait. The Mavericks know they can’t hang with San Antonio and Phoenix right now. They might not even be able to hang with Utah. O’Neal would take a lot of pressure off the rest of the team defensively, and he’d give the Mavs a guy who could defend guys like Amare, Boozer and Duncan, plus he’d make doubling Dirk Nowitski much more difficult to pull off. This is a trade that makes sense for both teams.

Denver Nuggets:

Trade 2 - Denver (RealGM)

I like this deal for a couple reasons. First off, it makes a lot of sense for the Nuggets. J.O. is just as good of a defender and almost as good of a rebounder as Marcus Camby, and would be a much better third scoring option behind Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson. Camby would be a good player for us for the remaining two years of his contract. If this deal went down closer to the deadline, Kareem Rush could be included to help replace J.R. Smith, the real reason we do this trade. Smith is an ideal shooting guard for O’Brien’s system. He’s athletic, he’s long and he can stroke the three. He’d be a great compliment to Danny Granger, Ike Diogu, Mike Dunleavy and Shawne Williams. I think we’d have to get a pick as well, and that could be the sticking point for Denver. Especially with Camby currently thriving, and O’Neal currently banged up.

Los Angeles Lakers:

Trade 3 - L.A. Lakers (RealGM)

We’re all familiar with this one and why it makes sense both ways. No need to explain.

Memphis Grizzlies:

Trade 4 - Memphis (RealGM)

Not sure we could get this one done, but again it makes sense both ways. Pau Gasol is a better fit in Obie’s system, and O’Neal would immediately give a boost to defense and ticket sales, two things the Grizz seem to struggle with. Jamaal Tinsley would also give them a better back-up point guard to help Mike Conley develop. Meanwhile, we’d clear some serious cap space right away and get rid of Tinsley, who’s had more than enough of a shot in Indy.

Those are my trades. If anybody else has any please leave them in the comments!

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