The Pacers currently sit just a half game behind the Nets for the final playoff spot in the east. O’Neal has not been much of a presence this year and the Pacers are unlikely to miss him. This will give some more of their young talent a chance to shine.
Remember also that O’Neal has just 2 years remaining on his outrageous contract and will be playing next year for a future deal, that is, if he doens’t opt out in the off-season. Of course he’ll take the rest of the year off to recover, he said it himself, he doesn’t want to have his “knee replaced in 10 years.” Look into that as deep as you want.
The Pacers and Nets have also been in discussions to move O’Neal to New Jersey in a swap for Vince Carter and Marcus Williams. I’m pretty sure the Nets are laughing about that trade at this point.