The Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors have reached a trade in principle that would send Jermaine O'Neal to the Raptors for T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, a player to be named and the #17 pick in this Thursday's draft.
As with all trades, one can make pros and cons with this as well. The truth is nobody knows who comes out ahead in this trade on the court for another couple years. O'Neal could have another injury or he could play to his All-Star ability. For the time being, though, the Pacers and Larry Bird came out ahead in this deal.
The Pacers and Bird needed to do something that indicated that the team was moving in the right direction to please the fans. Granted, pleasing the fans isn't the #1 concern with most teams, but for the Pacers organization it is a priority. The team has had way too much negative publicity over the last few years and building their reputation in the city is the first step in bringing fans back to the Fieldhouse.
Making the trade will build excitement with the fans for the upcoming NBA Draft (worked for me). This is where the Pacers need to finish the deal. They will have two 1st round selections with the 11th and 17th picks for the fans and the future of the team. The Pacers can't afford to take another chance on a guy and try to develop him overseas for 2 or 3 years. They must draft two players that can come in and contribute right away. Who these two guys are, I'm not real sure. The Pacers have more options now as to which route they go in the draft.
The Pacers have taken the first huge step in rebuilding this team and fan support. The steps that follow will be just as crucial for the team's success on the court.