Indiana Pacers: Ranking the 5 best trades in franchise history

Chris Mullin (Credit: JOHN RUTHROFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Chris Mullin (Credit: JOHN RUTHROFF/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Indiana Pacers
(Photo by Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images) /

2. The Indiana Pacers trade for their best big man in franchise history

Was there any doubt that Jermaine O’Neal would show up on this list? Jermaine O’Neal was traded to the Pacers before the 00-01. The team had been wildly successful the previous year making the NBA finals and losing the Kobe Bryant and Shaq-led Los Angeles Lakers. O’Neal had struggled to get playing time on a good Portland Trailblazers team and had requested a trade to seek more playing time with his new organization. In response, Portland traded O’Neal to the Pacers for Dale Davis.

The Pacers were already a great team and organization, with players like Reggie Miller and Mark Jackson leading the core group. They had been in the Eastern Conference Finals and NBA Finals regularly in the decade leading up to O’Neal’s arrival. Little did Pacers fans know they were about to get significantly better with their new acquisition.

O’Neal was wildly successful in Indiana, being a perennial All-Star for much of his time here. The team made the Eastern Conference Finals during the 03-04 season. Had his time in Indiana not been interrupted by his involvement in the Malice at the Palace, the 04-05 Pacers team was considered to be a serious contender for the NBA Finals.

Serious arguments can be made for Jermaine O’Neal being the first or second most successful Pacer of all time, with Reggie Miller being the counterargument. However, for a period of time, O’Neal was consistently making All-Star and All-NBA teams until suspensions and injuries derailed his time in Indiana.