The Toronto Raptors have agreed in principle to acquire forward Jermaine O'Neal from Indiana for point guard T.J. Ford, center Rasho Nesterovic, the 17th pick in the draft and a player to be named, The Canadian Press reported last night.
While The Canadian Press reported the deal, citing an unidentified person close to the negotiations, Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo said he was in the midst of "four or five" conversations with teams involving Ford and a combination of Toronto's No. 17 pick and other Raptors players.
A deal can't be finalized until July 1, when Ford's base-year compensation tag comes off the books.
O'Neal is a six-time All-Star. He averaged 13.6 points and 6.7 rebounds in 42 games last season.
Bobcats get 20th pick
The Denver Nuggets traded the 20th pick to the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for a future, protected first-round pick. The Bobcats, who also hold the ninth pick tonight, may now get a chance to address needs at center and point guard. The Nuggets do not have a pick in tonight's draft. Denver will get Charlotte's first-round pick next season if the Bobcats make the playoffs. If they don't, Charlotte keeps it . . . The Hornets have agreed to send their first-round draft pick, the 27th overall, to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for cash. The deal awaits league approval and may not become official until tonight's draft, according to a person who works in the NBA and is familiar with the transaction . . . A federal judge in New York cast doubt on the NBA's demand that disgraced referee Tim Donaghy
pay nearly $1.4 million in restitution, saying he might not have to foot the bill for an internal review of refereeing done in the wake of the league's gambling scandal.
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