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Jermaine O’Neal to the Celtics?

Jermaine O'Neal (Photo from theverdictblog.com)

According to Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics are reportedly one of the finalists to sign free agent big man Jermaine O’Neal, along with the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks. The C’s and Nuggets are believed to have offered O’Neal a two-year deal at the midlevel exception for $5.8 million per year.

Wojnarowski said that O’Neal is reportedly leaning toward signing with the Celtics. If he does, he would fill a void left by the injured Kendrick Perkins and the expected retirement of Rasheed Wallace.

The 31-year-old O’Neal 13.6 points and 6.9 rebounds for the Heat last season. He reportedly could come to his decision Wednesday or Thursday night.

Analysis

O’Neal is a far, far cry from what he used to be, when he was the best young big man in the game in his days with the Pacers. Over a six-year period from 2001-2007, Jermaine O’Neal averaged at least 19.0 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, and collected 10 boards per game three times in that stretch.

The bright side for O’Neal joining the Celtics? He no longer has to be matched up against him. Perk has dominated O’Neal throughout his career, and with O’Neal getting older and Perk getting better, I would expect that to continue…maybe just in Celtics practice instead of an actual game.

These days, O’Neal isn’t capable of being the top option or second option on a team. Hell, he’s not capable of being the third option. With the Celtics, however, the 6’11″ O’Neal would fill in as the starting center and would be the fifth offensive option on the floor. While his defense isn’t close to Perk’s, O’Neal should be able to hold his own alongside Kevin Garnett. He also is more capable of running up and down the floor than his brother from another mother, Shaquille O’Neal.

Do you support the potential O’Neal signing?

About KC Downey - @kc_downey

KC is the "head coach" of the Sports of Boston, LLC blog network. Follow him on Twitter: @kc_downey

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Discussion

3 comments for “Jermaine O’Neal to the Celtics?”

  1. Very disappointing. Another over the hill big man, who’s a lazy, injury prone, underachiever with few, if any, defensive skills. I really had hopes of getting David Lee now that Amare Stoudemire signed with New York. About the only good thing about O’Neal is that he’s not Brad Davis.

    Posted by Ken | July 9, 2010, 3:18 pm
  2. I meant Brad Miller. My apologies to Brad Davis.

    Posted by Ken | July 9, 2010, 3:27 pm
  3. David Lee was always going to go wherever he could get paid. You can’t be a semi-skilled 20something big man, who’ll be done as soon as he has his first big injury, and turn down 80 mil. He’s also got the horrible stink of losing on him, and might be soured on playing winning basketball, we’ll have to see.

    Yes, Jermaine O’Neal sucks. But what are we really asking him to do? Everyone knows that Baby is the first big guy off the bench if the rotation is healthy. Basically, we throw JON in the starting lineup for 2-3 months and ask him to play defense, get 2 blocks a game, and grab rebounds. He’s the type of guy who wasn’t destined to be a #1 or #2 on a contender (that’s a euphemism for choke artist); he just isn’t built for it, probably because he never went to college. BUT I think he’s also the type of guy who could get energized by being around the fierce D that the Celts pride themselves on playing (…in the playoffs, at least). Plus, there’s never been a knock on JON for being lazy. In a lousy FA crop outside the first tier, and not yet desperate enough to trade for a big piece (most of whom, like Iguodala, Kirilenko, etc. will be available all year because of horrid contracts), I’m fine with spending 6 mil on O’Neal. These are the type of compromise moves you gotta make when you’re a team forced into keeping together a core of old guys.

    Posted by Will | July 11, 2010, 6:34 pm

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