Friday , Jan , 19 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Are the Pacers better after blockbuster trade?

(Sports Network) – Indiana pulled off a blockbuster trade when it dealt
Stephen Jackson, Al Harrington, Sarunas Jasikevicius and Josh Powell to the
Golden State Warriors for Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy Jr., Ike Diogu and Keith
McLeod. Does this move make the Pacers better than they were?

Harrington and Jackson were the keys to the deal for Golden State. The Pacers
were thrilled to find a taker for the swingman Jackson, who has had some
character issues. The 6-9 Harrington, who can play all three frontcourt
positions and had spent the first six years of his career with Indiana, was
re-acquired by the Pacers from the Atlanta Hawks in a sign-and-trade deal
during last offseason. Harrington did not fit in with Jermaine O’Neal like
Indiana had hoped he would.

The 26-year-old Harrington, who was pursued by the Warriors last summer,
averaged 15.9 points and 6.3 rebounds in 36 games for Indiana, while Jackson
registered 14.1 points and 3.1 assists in 37 contests for the Pacers this
season.

Indiana did acquire three frontcourt players who will have an immediate impact
on head coach Rick Carlisle’s rotation.

Dunleavy, who was originally selected out of Duke in the first round (third
overall) of the 2002 NBA Draft by Golden State, has not lived up to
expectations. The Duke product had his most productive season in 2004-05, as
he posted career-highs in points (13.4 ppg) and field-goal percentage (45.1
percent) in 79 games played.

The 26-year-old Dunleavy has not developed into the outside threat he was
supposed to be coming out of Duke. The 6-9 forward has been inconsistent
throughout his career and may benefit from a change of scenery.

Murphy, who is also 26, has had a tough season so far. Prior to the trade,
Murphy posted 8.9 points and 6.0 boards in 26 outings. The Notre Dame product
has proved in the past that he can average a double-double, which he has
achieved three times during his time in the league.

In 2004-05, Murphy averaged career-highs in points (15.4 ppg) and rebounds
(10.8 rpg). He is a solid low-post player who can also knock down a short
jumper. Like Dunleavy, the 6-11 Murphy, who will play center and power forward
for the Pacers, may also benefit playing on a new team.

Diogu, who is playing in his second season, is athletic and will give the
Pacers depth up front. The 6-8 Diogu was selected out of Arizona State with
the ninth overall pick by Golden State in the 2005 NBA Draft. The 23-year-old
Diogu averaged 7.0 points and 3.3 rebounds in 69 games during his rookie
campaign in 2005-06.

The trade between the Pacers and Warriors seems like it could be beneficial
for the main players involved. Fresh starts is the theme of the deal.

Indiana is trying to surround O’Neal, who leads the Pacers in scoring and
rebounding, with players who can help him compete against the elite in the
Eastern Conference.

There is a chance that Dunleavy and Murphy could reach their full potential in
Indiana, and Diogu could continue to develop into a solid pro. But the fact
remains, the Pacers are no closer to being able to beating Chicago, Cleveland,
Detroit or Miami in a best-of-seven game series.

The Pacers can’t be faulted for making the trade. The volatile Jackson had to
go, and even though Harrington was putting up solid numbers, it just wasn’t
working out with him and O’Neal. Indiana got rid of a headache and decided to
go in a different direction with its frontcourt.

If Dunleavy and Murphy play like they have something to prove and get their
games back together, Indiana will be thrilled with the deal. Don’t forget,
Diogu has the potential to be a contributor.

Indiana did ok with the trade, but its new players are not going to be
difference makers when the playoffs roll around.

IND