Does J.O. Make Toronto Contenders in the East?

by June 26, 2008

by Marcel Mutoni

That’s the question that must be asked once this trade goes through.

A trade – though it initially looked as if it’d fallen apart at the 11th hour – that has effectively stolen the spotlight from tonight’s NBA Draft. Toronto and Indiana will have completely different looks next season, to say nothing of the Eastern Conference.

Once the physicals are passed, Jermaine O’Neal will be joining Chris Bosh on Toronto’s frontline, while TJ Ford hopes to shore up Indiana’s poor guard play (with Rasho Nesterovic and the Dinos’ 17th pick as throw-ins.)

So, what does this mean for the Raptors, who are taking the biggest gamble in this here trade?

Well, for starters, they’re getting a guy (and as always, health permitting) with All-Star potential, capable of giving you 20-10, and alongside CB4, gives Toronto one of the best and most fearsome frontlines in the Association. If, if, healthy. If not, well, you’re stuck paying someone close to $45 mil over the next two seasons to sit on the bench and look fly in designer suits.

J.O. and TJ are two guys who both desperately needed a change of scenery, and the two teams are definitely happy to see them both go. Not sure what that says about either player, but if uncle injury doesn’t rear his ugly head again, this should be a good move for everyone involved. Again, if.