I doubt this story is made up but it may be stretched a little. However he swore that JO said Al and Bender were gonna stay put and that Ron would be the one of the three to be traded.
Yeah, and JO also thought Isiah would return this past season.
But this time JO hasn't (AFAIK) made any demands or have any contractual leverage.... so the team wouldn't have any reason to tell him half-truths.
It doesn't mean the cell store guy didn't put words in JO's mouth.'
Cell Store Guy: "Wow... J.O.!!! I can't believe it's you! I'm a BIG Pacers fan"
JO: "Cool... I'm looking for a new phone."
CSG: Sure... so wow.... ummmm... you guys are so cool. I don't care what anyone says, Bender will be a star! I sure hope Bender and Al get to stay around"
JO: "Yeah... About my phone...."
CSG: "Phone? Oh... yeah.... We have lots of phones... Man, that Artest sure went off. He should've got the ball to you! That 35' 3 at the end of the game. And that flagrant foul... I bet the Pacers ship his a$$ off"
JO: "Yeah... Maybe.... About my phone... I think I'll take this one"
Later that day:
CSG: "Man, I talked to JO and he says Bender and Al stay and Artest is gonna get his a$$ shipped out! He told me that today when he came to the store... IN PERSON!"