The anxiously anticipated day has come, where rumor and trade talk has evolved into official player transaction. Jermaine O'Neal has been sent to Miami to fill a void that was left upon the departure of the first great O'Neal (the self-proclaimed "Big Aristotle"). Now the Pat Riley's "big man" prophecy must continue to follow the legacy of success through centers like Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Shaquille O'Neal, and now Jermaine O'Neal.
Now, you will hear the skeptics rant on and on about O'Neal's health, his consistency, injury proneness, and age. Let's remember one thing - those were the same criticisms they brought upon Shaq. A few champagne drenched memories and a championship banner held above AA Arena, we all know how that story ended. Today we are brought to another turning point in Heat history, where the next man in line to fill the 5 spot has the opportunity to prove himself to the skeptics. I feel confident that J. O'Neal has what it takes to go along with the Miami Heat's latest motto - "Something 2 Prove."
With the All-Star weekend full steam ahead, Heat fans have time to let this trade settle in. They can digest the prospect of bringing out their old #32 jerseys and replacing them with a number soon to be determined. This will give a renewed sense of hope for Miami fans and will incite even more excitement towards the playoff push led by D. Wade and the rest of the young guns. Only time will prove the success or failure of this trade, but for now it is a victory for Miami and a much needed improvement to Erik Spoelstra's roster.
Stay tuned for the release of Miami Sport Generation's latest player evaluation feature and see how we analyze Jermaine O'Neal's compatibility with the Miami Heat team and organization.