Tag:Jermaine O'Neal
Posted on: January 28, 2009 9:37 pm

O'Neal still in limbo

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jermaine O'Neal smiled when I asked him where things stand with you-know-what.

"You mean the Miami thing," he said before the Raptors played the Nets Wednesday night.

Basically, O'Neal remains in limbo. He knows that Toronto would like to send him to Miami for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks in a trade that would free up the Raptors' offense for Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani. He knows Miami is watching him closely and studying his medical records to make sure his knees will hold up.

He knows it's nothing personal. No hard feelings toward Raptors G.M. Bryan Colangelo if the deal goes through.

"I'm just trying to get healthy, which has been the big issue for me the last couple of years," O'Neal said. The trade talk, he said, "doesn't bother me at all."

Colangelo is in wait-and-see mode, too. And he's not panicking. O'Neal has been effective coming off the bench the past three games after missing 11 of 12 to rest his bruised knee. Colangelo knows he has a valuable asset, because O'Neal's $23 million contract for next season expires in time for everyone to make a frenzied run at free agents in the summer of 2010. As of now, there's no deal with Miami. And while Colangelo waits for the Heat to decide whether to move forward with it, I'm told he's not actively shopping J.O. elsewhere. Two or three teams have inquired about him, and that only strengthens Colangelo's hand.

The Raptors are $222,000 under the luxury-tax threshold. Barring a trade proposal that blows Colangelo away, he's not inclined to push a team that entered Wednesday night 10 games under .500 over the punitive dollar-for-dollar tax.

In the meantime, O'Neal auditions for Miami and Colangelo smiles because he's contributing in a way that helps his team. And that only makes his $23 million expiring contract more valuable. At some point, something has to give.


Posted on: January 22, 2009 9:32 pm

Riley acknowledges Marion-O'Neal talks

After the Miami Heat finished paying tribute to Alonzo Mourning Thursday, it was on to more pressing NBA business: Shawn Marion for Jermaine O'Neal.

A person familiar with the discussions put it this way to CBSSports.com when I asked where the proposed deal stands: "On the health of J.O.'s knee."

The person, who is directly involved in the process, confirmed that the Heat and Raptors have exchanged medical information on O'Neal and Marion -- usually the final step toward completing a trade. Marcus Banks also likely would be going from Miami to Toronto to make the deal work under league rules.

Riley, speaking with reporters after Mourning announced his retirement, essentially confirmed the talks.

"I value Shawn Marion immensely," Riley said. "He is a tremendous player. I'm sorry this is going on right now, but that's the NBA business."

If O'Neal's ailing right knee is healthy, he could help bring the inside presence that Miami has been lacking-- especially defensively. His $23 million contract coming off the books after next season also couldn't hurt in the bid to pair Dwyane Wade with a major free agent. Marion's $17.2 million contract expires after this season, allowing Raptors G.M. Bryan Colangelo to make a pre-emptive free-agent strike in an effort to pair and All-Star with Chris Bosh.

Posted on: January 19, 2009 6:33 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2009 5:51 pm

O'Neal must get healthy before trade (UPDATE)

Trade rumors have been swirling around the Raptors' Jermaine O'Neal, and for good reason. O'Neal has been out with a sore right knee for 10 of the last 11 games, and the air was ripe for conspiracy theories Monday when he was held out of Toronto's game against the conference-rival Hawks. The Miami Heat, reported to be mulling a possible deal that would send Shawn Marion to Toronto for O'Neal, had a scout at the Hawks-Raptors game. That's standard procedure with the Heat scheduled to play the Hawks next Monday, but the O'Neal situation is sufficiently curious as to arouse suspicions. As Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel points out, O'Neal hasn't scored a single basket since Dec. 29.

Raptors G.M. Bryan Colangelo is said to be itching to complete a big trade before the Feb. 19 deadline. O'Neal is a likely candidate, with his $23 million expiring contract next season and with the emergence of Andrea Bargnani in O'Neal's absence.

O'Neal's agent, Arn Tellem, wouldn't discuss the likelihood that O'Neal would be dealt. But a person with direct knowledge of the Raptors' plans told me that O'Neal will stay right where he is until he can prove that his knee is sturdy enough for a playoff run with a new team. "Nothing can happen until he's completely healthy," the person said.

So the speculation will continue until O'Neal gets back on the floor and proves that he can help a team with playoff aspirations. No telling how long that will be.

UPDATE: Here is the latest, according to a source familiar with the situation. Miami wants O'Neal to prove he's healthy before trading for him. Raptors G.M. Bryan Colangelo, being the shrewd negotiator that he is, will likely call the Heat's bluff by trying to find another potential suitor for O'Neal. This ostensibly would force Heat president Pat Riley to decide whether he wants to pull the trigger on the deal before he's ready to. It's a poker game. A second source says Miami is definitely trying to add a big man. O'Neal would fit the bill. It'll be interesting to see who blinks first.


Posted on: December 22, 2008 11:48 am

Raptors look to deal, but not with N.Y.

The silly season gets sillier by the day. A reasonable, workable trade scenario involving the Knicks and Raptors was floated on Bulls.com by veteran NBA writer Sam Smith -- Stephon Marbury and Eddy Curry to Toronto for Jermaine O'Neal and Anthony Parker. Sounds good. The Knicks get something for Marbury, and J.O.'s monstrous contract comes off the books in time for the 2010 free-agent derby. Only one problem: The Knicks and Raptors haven't discussed a trade in months, according to an executive familiar with both teams' plans.

One thing is clear: Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo is looking to deal. O'Neal isn't fitting in with Toronto, and Colangelo is under tremendous pressure to turn this team around to appease Chris Bosh, who has the all-important player option in 2010. A likely trade chip will be Parker and his $4.6 million expiring contract. Toronto will come up numerous trade scenarios floated and discussed between now and the Feb. 19 deadline, and is all but certain to pull the trigger on something. Just not this one.

Marbury's buyout talks continue to creep forward, but a person with ties to Marbury said he doesn't expect anything to be finalized before January. The Knicks have given Marbury permission to find a deal with another team, but Marbury's representative, Hal Biagas of the NBA Players Association, is playing that side of it close to the vest.

There will be no trade market for Curry, on the books for $31.5 through 2010-11, until he gets on the floor and plays. He hasn't logged a minute since preseason due to a knee injury.



Posted on: December 12, 2008 11:01 pm

Vince Carter's 0-for-13 night

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- There are plenty of reasons not to venture out to a Nets game on a Friday night. Traffic, for one. A half-empty basketball arena, for another.

You could be as unlucky as the passengers on the Toronto Raptors' second bus from their Jersey City hotel and get into a minor scrape with another vehicle. This is what happened to the bus carrying Chris Bosh, Jermaine O'Neal, and several members of the Raptors' coaching and front office staff. Trying to navigate the narrow city streets, the driver of the aforementioned bus learned that buses don't fit on the narrow streets of Jersey City, especially when they are attempting to turn a corner. After one such unsuccessful maneuver, the bus crashed into a car behind it while backing up to make room. This resulted in Bosh and O'Neal arriving about an hour before tipoff.

This was nothing compared to the night Vince Carter had. While Bosh and O'Neal spent much of the fourth quarter on the bench enjoying what amounted to a 101-79 victory, Carter sat and stewed about the worst shooting performance of his 11-year career.

Carter was 0-for-13 from the field Friday night, scoring his only three points at the foul line. It was the first time he'd played at least 10 minutes without a field goal. He had two 0-for-3 shooting games while with the Raptors in 2001 and '02, but left those games in the first quarter with injuries.

"He's a scorer," Bosh said. "When you do something like that, that's a credit to the defense. He's very talented, and he's hard to stop. We tried to limit his points in the paint. We tried to put a body on him at all times. We tried to make him get through different layers of defense instead of just getting past one guy and then laying it up. We didn't want to do that. We wanted to make him beat one guy and then meet somebody else, and then probably somebody else after that."

Carter met three such people midway through the third, but they were seated in the stands behind the basket. Lunging for a loose ball, Carter landed awkwardly on two people in the first row. He had fallen, and he couldn't get up. A guy in the second row jumped up and helped him to his feet. "Thanks, baby," Carter said as he ran back on defense.

That was all the help he got on this night, and all he had to say, too. Carter, who typically answers postgame questions in the interview room, left the building before stopping by to chat.

Wasn't much to talk about.

The Raptors, now 2-3 under interim coach Jay Triano, put forth their best defensive effort of the season in holding the Nets to 31 percent shooting from the field. They got outrebounded 50-37, but are beginning to show signs of defending the basket and pushing the ball in transition, two critical areas Sam Mitchell wasn't able to extract from his underachieving team.

Next time in New Jersey, though, the Raptors will want to find a new hotel. Not to mention a new bus driver.


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