O’Neal keeps contract amid trade buzz
By Mike Wells
Posted: June 4, 2008
If the Indiana Pacers want to part ways with Jermaine O’Neal, they’ll have to trade him.
O’Neal’s representatives recently informed the Pacers he will not opt out of the final two years of his contract. O’Neal had until June 30 to decide whether to become an unrestricted free agent.
The Pacers weren’t surprised. President Larry Bird said in February he didn’t expect O’Neal to opt out because he would be leaving behind $44 million on the final two years of his contract.
That doesn’t guarantee O’Neal will return. The Pacers likely will look to trade him.
O’Neal again battled knee injuries and averaged 13.6 points and 6.7 rebounds in 42 games last season.
O’Neal, who has said repeatedly he doesn’t want to be part of a rebuilding project, has been working out in Las Vegas to regain strength in his left knee, which has bothered him for two-plus years.
Call Star reporter Mike Wells at (317) 444-6053.