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The Los Angeles Lakers made a return to prominence in the late 1990s and the early part of this decade with the acquisition of a big man named O'Neal. It could happen again, if another big guy named O'Neal gets his way.

Indiana forward Jermaine O'Neal apparently wants to be dealt from the Pacers to the Lakers to be paired with Kobe Bryant to win titles the same way Shaquille O'Neal did. There's a big hitch, however. While Shaquille O'Neal arrived via a splashy free agent signing, Jermaine O'Neal would have to be acquired by the Lakers through a trade, and the team is apparently unwilling to send forward Lamar Odom and especially center Andrew Bynum to Hoosierland for Jermaine O'Neal.

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The Lakers had better hope that Bynum, the 10th overall pick in the 2005 draft, is the real deal. Bryant has already cursed the 19-year-old in his now infamous parking lot video rant over the team's failure to trade him for New Jersey point guard Jason Kidd last season. If Los Angeles is to have any chance of keeping Bryant happy, they'd either better get Jermaine O'Neal or hope Bynum quickly becomes the new incarnation of Shaquille O'Neal. Neither prospect seems likely.

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