Are Pacers Pursuing Deal For No. 1 Pick?
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
OF THE DAY
Pacers.ComQ. I've heard rumors that the Pacers are trying to make a deal to obtain the top spot in the draft to select Adam Morrison. Is there any truth to that? And, if it is true, what players do you think would be thrown in to the deal? (Alex in Indianapolis)
A. The weeks leading up to the draft are the NBA's equivalent of auto racing's silly season or baseball's hot stove league. It's the time for rumors to fly and all things, at least on paper, seem possible. The Pacers have been prominent grist in the rumor mill this year, with the alleged discussions with Toronto getting a lot of play because of the involvement of the No. 1 pick and a star player.
To this point, however, there's been no public comment from any of the parties involved that would lend credence to the oft-reported rumor, which has Jermaine O'Neal going to the Raptors for the No. 1 pick in a package that may also include Indiana's No. 17 pick and Toronto forward Charlie Villanueva. It's obviously a very sexy rumor that has grown some very long legs but isn't exactly walking on firm ground.
When last we chatted with Pacers President Larry Bird, he was identifying O'Neal not as trade bait but as "our guy," adding the plan was to "build around him."
Bird hasn't commented since that end-of-season press conference but we'll hear from him Friday morning in the pre-draft briefing.
O'Neal arranged an interview with local television station WISH as well as the Indianapolis Star in which he said the Raptors rumor "has no truth behind it whatsoever."
The speculation has been the Pacers want Adam Morrison, which is curious. Though an unquestioned talent, Morrison is a small forward, a position already populated by Peja Stojakovic and Danny Granger.
Though there are many things about this rumor that don't quite add up, it hasn't stopped the speculation. This time of year, it seems, logic also is on vacation.