If I projected it correctly, here's how the rotation works:
PG - Daniels / Tinsley / Greene / Diener
SG - Dunleavy / Rush
SF - Granger / Shawne Williams
PF - Murphy / Diogu
C - Oneal / Foster / Harrison
Stephen Graham, Andre Owens
As far as I am concerned, on paper and on court this is not a good team. The contracts of the players are ugly and they do not own a draft pick this year. They need to do something.
Indiana's cap situation is pretty much like that of Minny's. A discontent max-paid star, 3 overpaid starters and a thin bench. What is worse is they have no draft picks this year to even hint a glimmer of hope.
Jermaine Oneal is owed an ave salary of 21.5M over the next 3 years while the supporting cast of Tinsley, Dunleavy and Murphy are locked-in for the next 4 years with a combined ave salary of 27M. Add in the contract of Marquis Daniels, 20M in 3 years, Bird has his hands full on this team that has not even made the playoffs.
Now he talks highly of Shawne Williams, Danny Granger, Ike Diogu. What does that mean? Does it mean the "core" is changing? What about talking about the veterans being able to carry this team to the playoffs? On this note, it becomes obvious that Bird is more interested in a trade w/ the Lakers than he admits.
Now comes the comments made by JO in the charity game. It is clearer than the light of day what JO wants. He wants to play for LA alongside Kobe. Combine this with the salary cap burden that his contract provides, what do you think would be the sanest thing to do?
Troy Murphy is owed 42 in 4, Dunleavy is owed 38 in 4, Tinsley is owed 28 in 4. Indiana is already asking for Bynum and Odom for the services of JO. While it might seem like they hold the aces, reality is, leverage is with us. We can choose to stand pat and still be a fine team while Indiana will only get worse. Day-by-day the odds of them dealing from a position of strength diminishes.
Once more we tread the dangerous territory of assumptions. If Indy decides to deal JO alone, it would have to include both Odom and Bynum. If Indy decides they are lowering the asking price, then they would at least have one ugly contract taken out from their payroll. Which is which? Troy Murphy has the ugliest of the 4, Dunleavy is pretty close and Tinsley is cheaper but is a head case. Take your pick.
Now lets consider some things as well: If Odom is traded to Indy, he will seek a 3-year extension. (I estimate it at 40M). Should Indiana insist on Odom, they will not experience any cap relief anytime within the next 4-5 years. I can hardly imagine this being the case of a small market team.
It would therefore make more sense for Indiana to package JO along with 2 minimum contracts for a package of Bynum, Kwame, Crittenton, Cook, Sasha and possibly the inclusion of Jamaal Tinsley in the package. It is best to seek a 3rd team to take in Tinsley's contract by then, I'm hoping its Miami for Doleac and a signed and traded James Posey.
It is still a hard deal to complete by any standards. But I know deep within that a deal is imminent.