Deal's as done as it can be right now
Nothing's official until it's official, he said in his best Yogi Berra imitation, but it sure looks at the moment like the T.J. Ford-Jermaine O'Neal trade is going to go through.
The concerns both Toronto and Indiana had with the health of the principles -- Ford's neck and back and O'Neal's knee -- have apparently been eased and only some major last-minute snag or case of cold feet can scuttle the trade now.
The Raptors will also send the 17th pick in Thursday's draft, Rasho Nesterovic and another bit part to the Pacers in the deal that's been talked about in the media since Monday morning.
Bryan Colangelo had told us he had "four or five" conversations going about Ford but a couple of team sources said he liked the O'Neal deal best because of the impact it will have on the court immediately and on the bottom line a couple of seasons from now.
O'Neal will make $44 million (US) over the next two seasons but will come off the books and give Colangelo a boatload of money to throw at free agents following the 2009-10 season.
Neither side is talking, of course, because nothing can be finalized until T.J.'s base-year compensation tag comes off the books on July 1. For that reason, Toronto will make the 17th selection in tonight's draft based on what the Pacers tell them to do.