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The wheels go round (slowly)

June 11, 2007 | 10:33 am

A little more news on the possible permutations and combinations of a Jermaine O'Neal deal.  Not much new, but it does help break down the options.  There's some draft talk in there as well.  Meanwhile, around the Western Conference, some big names continued to be tossed around.  Shawn Marion is one.  Zach Randolph, for fairly obvious reasons (Oden, Greg + Aldridge, LaMarcus = potential relocation), is another.  For those of you hoping for a move to L.A. for Z-Bo, a) don't hold your breath, b) don't worry about his practice habits.  And for what it's worth, and it ain't much, I heard some radio talk show chatter yesterday about Ron Artest wanting to play in Miami.  Artest in South Beach.  Can't see anything going wrong there.  In his Insider Blog for, Chad Ford talks about Marion, Randolph and Artest, the latter of whom he links to the Rockets. Click below for some excerpts.   

As LeBron undergoes what I think will, in total, be five games of abuse at the hands of the Spurs, Jack McCallum takes a look at other "LeBron like" superstars and their first Finals.  It's a fun peek at some history, and will allow Laker fans to relive the success of Magic and Kobe.   

From Ford's blog, on Artest:

"One possible destination for Ron Artest this summer? Houston, to be reunited with his former coach Rick Adelman.

I'm told the Rockets have been quietly putting out feelers about Artest, and the price might be right. I hear it would cost the Rockets Bob Sura (he has only $1 million in salary protection next year), Kirk Snyder, Vasilis Spanoulis and this year's first-round draft pick.

With Artest entering a player option year on his contract in the summer of 2008, it may be time to take the risk."

(If that's the asking price, it does add a lot of credibility to the notion that Artest can be had cheap.  What combination of cheap is a big question, though.  BK)

On Marion and Randolph:

"The Celtics' Danny Ainge traveled to Los Angeles on Wednesday to take a look at Yi Jianlian in a private workout. Yi worked out for nearly two hours in a gym by himself and then spent several hours with Ainge.

The same drill was repeated on Thursday with the Atlanta Hawks GM Billy Knight. On Saturday the Bulls will get a look at Yi.

The feedback from the workouts has been positive. Yi looks great in that environment. The question is whether he has the toughness to play that way when you put nine other players on the floor.

Next, Yi's camp will sit back and gauge feedback. If none of those teams commit to drafting Yi, then Sacramento likely will be the next team to visit.

If Boston is passing on Yi, I think that means we might see a trade coming. There's talk that the Suns -- to slash payroll -- might be willing to take the No. 5 pick, Theo Ratliff's expiring contract and Delonte West for Shawn Marion. That would make Paul Pierce happy.

With the No. 5 pick, the Suns could replace Marion with Yi, Jeff Green or Al Thornton. In the Suns' system, all three of those guys could play the four.

Another dark horse in the Yi sweepstakes might be Portland, which is trying to get another top 10 draft pick. As I've mentioned before, the Bulls seem like a possible trading partner, with Zach Randolph involved.

Can you imagine the huge front line of Greg Oden, LaMarcus Aldridge and Yi? Wow."

Wow indeed.