In the recent tradition of posting crazy trade ideas in the diaries, I thought I would post a link to this article and foment discussion on the topic of trading for the oft-injured Jermaine O'Neal. The article posits Ben Wallace + Ben Gordon = Jermaine, but the trade would work with Duhon or Joe Smith in the BG slot as well.
The positives: O'Neal is certainly a force to be reckoned with in the post, as much of a scorer as Pau and more of a defensive presence than Pau ever will be. He's also not that old (29, doesn't turn 30 until October), and with all the injuries, doesn't even have 29-years-worth of milleage (he's like a gem used car that might be ten years old but only has 50,000 miles). We unload Big Ben's contract and free up playing time for the young'uns, but don't put so much pressure on them to fully carry the load. JO still has a large contract, but it's one year shorter than Wallace's, which means it will be expiring after next year (giving us a nice trade asset during next season). Overall, it's a great way to split the baby: if it works, it actually upgrades our talent in a need area and makes us potentially scary short term (O'Neal + Noah/Thomas + Deng + Thabo/(whoever's left) + Hinrich), but it frees up more money sooner and helps us plan for the future as well. Bottom line: O'Neal, when healthy, is a franchise guy, and we'd be getting him on the cheap.
The negatives: O'Neal might never ever be healthy. It's a risk. If he never produces, his trade value will not justify his contract, and we probably won't be able to move him next year that easily. Also, he'll cap us out, and might complicate the signing of Deng to something long term (Reinsdorf would have to be on board from the get-go).
In my mind, though, the risk is probably worth the reward. It's the only major trade possible that I actually think makes sense. It's a year-and-a-half experiment that might put us back near the top, or might flop horribly. If it flops, though, are we really that worse off?