Q. According to www.hoopsworld.com: "As originally revealed by Hoopsworld.com in April, Jonathan Bender is indeed on his way to Los Angeles along with the 17th pick in the draft. In return, the Lakers will send Devean George, Slava Medvedenko and a second-round pick. Loose ends: which Laker second-rounder goes to Indy? Did the Pacers convince the Lakers to send Brian Cook instead of Medvedenko? Expect the deal within a day or two of draft day, although it may not be triggered until June 28."
Is this true and this does not sound like a good deal at all for the Pacers as both Devean George and Slava Medvedenko are both unproven talents compared to a first-round pick and Bender? (From John in Indianapolis)
A. The story is not accurate. Franchise CEO Donnie Walsh was unequivocal in his dismissal of that particular trade report. No such discussions are taking place, and there's nothing on the table with the Lakers.
Though Bender has gone through two nightmarish years with injuries, there's little reason for the Pacers to trade him because there is little to gain by doing so. Bender's trade value is minimal because of his history of injuries. The franchise has invested quite a bit of time (and money) in Bender, to that point that it would be counterproductive to give up on him now.
Whatever the odds Bender will find a way to get healthy, stay healthy and become a productive NBA player, the Pacers are willing to stay in the game and keep rolling the dice because they know the potential payoff is worth the risk.