Monday, February 18, 2013
Why the Suns may trade O'Neal
By Nick Borges
Jermaine O'Neal came back for his 17th NBA season in hopes of helping a playoff contender, but he's not going to get a chance if he stays with the Phoenix Suns as they are heading for the 2013 lottery. Teams heading to the payoffs are always looking for depth in the frontcourt and several may take a run at O'Neal since he's healthy and only makes the league minimum.
According to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic, O'Neal said he would like “to stay and fight with the boys”, however a trade to a playoff contender wouldn't be bad. Coro lists Oklahoma City has a possibility since it's closer to his family in Dallas.
The Lakers and Celtics could have some interest in O'Neal, however a trade with Los Angeles is out of the question since the Suns want them to miss the playoffs -- Phoenix gets their pick if it's in the lottery (top 1-14).
ESPN Insider Kevin Pelton lists O'Neal as a player the Suns would be wise to deal by Thursday's trade deadline.
Kevin PeltonTrade targets: 'Sell-high' options
" Since he signed for the veteran's minimum as a free agent, O'Neal was the definition of a low-risk pickup. The Suns' training staff has worked its usual wonders with O'Neal, who missed nearly twice as many games due to injury (96) as he played (49) during two seasons in Boston. Aside from dealing with an irregular heartbeat, O'Neal has missed just three games this season. As importantly, O'Neal has been effective on the court, making at least half his shot attempts for just the second time in his career. Rather than wait for buyouts, a contender might be willing to offer a second-round pick for O'Neal. Unfortunately, Phoenix's medical staff will not be included in any deal."