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Add Another Candidate: C’s on Jermaine O’Neal’s Short List

 

The latest name in the C’s search for a big man has come to the surface, and quite frankly it may be the best option out on the market in Jermaine O’Neal. The former member of the Heat lists the C’s as one of the finalists for his services (along with Dallas and Denver) for the upcoming season. Marc Stein of ESPN.com has the scoop:

“Those are my favorites,” O’Neal told ESPN.com “Those are teams that are going to compete [for a championship] next year.”

O’Neal said he’s still deliberating between the three teams — all believed to be offering a portion of the mid-level exception to sign him — and called the decision perhaps “the most important of my career because I know this is kind of my last run at it” in terms of title-chasing.

O’Neal averaged 13.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 28.6 minutes in 70 games last season for the Heat, who are expected to renounce their rights to the former All-Star as part of the cap space-clearing exercise required to create sufficient cap room for the incoming Chris Bosh alongside a re-signed Dwyane Wade and Miami’s other free-agent targets.

Let’s take a look at what O’Neal could bring to the table in Boston.

Well, first off Jermaine, if your talking about winning Championships, Boston is your best bet on that list, rather than trying to get out of the gauntlet that will be the Western Conference next year. Hopefully he figures that out.

Now, let’s take a look at a quick scouting report on O’Neal prepared by our own Zach Lowe at the beginning of the free agency period:

• Jermaine O’Neal: Had a rebound season in 2010 (his PER was a robust 17.9), and his shooting percentage jumped over 50 percent for the first time in his career. But as we saw when he pooped the bed against Boston in the playoffs, it’s unclear if he can score against elite defenses, and he’s become more a jump-shooting big as he has aged. His plus/minus numbers over the last three years show a player who is a neutral presence, at best.

It is worth noting that despite O’Neal’s collossal stinker in Round 1 (20 percent shooting), he was battling through knee and ankle injuries throughout the final stages of the season. Those undoubtedly affected him as he battled Perk one of the best low post defenders in the league. Is it a complete excuse? Absolutely not, but the dismal performance should be taken with that in mind.

The bigger sample size, (the regular season) shows the 31 year old having a nice bounceback year, with terrific shooting from the perimeter (44 percent in the 16-23 foot range according to Hoopdata.com). Much of his offense has been pushed out towards that range, (a la KG) in this stage of his career, but he would be a nice complement to Perk in spacing the floor, perhaps not as well as Sheed did, but enough for opponents to keep an eye on outside the paint.

As for the rest of his game, the rebounding is steady and defensively O’Neal can still make an impact. He blocks shots, rotates well given his size, and ranks amongst the leaders in charges taken by centers in the past few years. He’s regressed quite a bit from his peak obviously given his 14 year career, but overall he’d be a solid fill-in for Perk and strong piece in the team’s big man rotation.

For a portion of the mid-level exception, say 3-4 million dollars per year for two seasons, you can count me in. In this market, that might even be a steal for a veteran who wants to win.

  • http://z3.invisionfree.com/Political_Deathmatch/index.php? Harrison_Bergeron

    Meh, doesn’t really excite me but he’d be OK, almost certainly a better option than Kwame Brown…

  • MP

    I love the idea. I just hope that doesn’t prevent us from getting a really solid wing player who can shoot (which we desperately need)

  • Jeff

    I’m ALL in on this one! He’d be an excellent backup after Perk is back and fill in very nicely while he’s out.

    He plays D, rebounds, and do the screen/roll offense with Rondo while having KG on the floor to do the same, and both can hit from the perimeter. If anything, he really opens up the floor for Rondo, while still giving post D and rebounding. I think this is the best solution and the C’s need to make a push on this one!

  • I love Green

    I’d be so pumped if we get JO. I mostly like how he can spread the floor, which is big for Rondo.

    PLEASE DANNY! GO FOR JERMAINE!

  • Perry

    Forsberg had a good tweet.

    ‘The Celtics are officially interested in any free agent over 6 feet with the last name Miller or O’Neal’

    Clearly the 5 spot is a major concern. We can’t count on Perk to go at full speed until the Spring, if that’s even possible. He could be fully healed, but play more cautiously akin to Kevin or the way Tony Allen came back from his injury.

    Shaq and Miller at 2 years seem to be the default options, but I can’t see Danny tying up the full MLE on either player. JO is only 31, but I don’t see him as an efficient 25+ minutes center either. In back up role he might flourish.

    There are so many scenarios involving David Lee, and one of them includes signing with the Wolves who are shopping Jefferson. Even at $12m/ AJ may be worth the Sheed retiring contract along with anything else Danny can muster in a three way deal. He can solve the low post play vacated by KG (will hang out on the perimeter more than ever next year), Perk and Sheed. If JO could be had for half the MLE, to play behind Jefferson or David Lee, it could make AJ a better defensive player, and at the very least you have a pair of shot blockers and rebounders.

  • Al

    I remember one of the last games of the season between Orl and Miami. Jermaine O’Neal played pretty good defense on Howard. That whole Miami team didn’t necessarily play well for the whole season but before meeting Boston in the playoffs they really turned it up defensively. This guy can block shots and rebound he’d be a great addition especially when Perk comes back from his injury… I know that he can be aggressive like he was with the Pacers and not soft like he was against the Celtics. I don’t know if he has attitude problems though but it can’t be worse than Nate and Rasheed off the bench right? that’s why we have Doc… so good luck again coach :S

  • Al

    by the way, Shaq’s first option seems to be the Spurs according to some reports out there…

  • Al

    is the al jefferson debate still out there? we’re not getting him for Rasheed if the Wolves trade him they’ll want a player not an expiring contract even Biedrins would be more of a possibility than Jefferson…

  • Tom

    Introducing the 2010 Boston Celtics!

    It will be full of all NBA 1st team player the late 90s!

    (assuming we add AI and the two O’Neals )

  • I love Green

    @Tom- We’re not going to get both O’Neals, and we’re not getting AI.

  • Bobby

    Please. Please. Please.

    I love this idea…

    I think jermaine o’neal is probably a better finisher at the rim than any of our other bigs – which i think is one the celtics major problems

  • I love Green
  • Jeff

    @Perry

    The only thing we can or would possibly give to MIN other than Sheed is Davis and maybe a second rounder plus $$$. That’s the only way we could obtain him because he is $12 mil and Sheed and Davis would only be worth $9.3 which would be about $500,000 short when factoring in a trade kicker.

    Big Al would be a long and short term post solution but with Boozer, JJ, Wade, Bosh and Gay all committed and Lebron either going back to CLE or MIA, there’s no way NY let’s Lee go anywhere now that their whole plan has completely failed.

    Now maybe a 3 way deal but it would take Perk.

    And it would likely only work with CLE if they wanted Perk.

    C’s could trade Perk for West and send West and Sheed for Al.

    CLE get’s a young center for Lebron, C’s get Al, and MIN get’s 2 contracts that could possibly be bought out for as little as $500,000. That would allow them the cap to give Lee nearly a max deal, but I don’t see that happening with Perk injured and CLE likely losing Lebron anyways.

  • Shooter

    Thank God, Bosh cut his locks, never liked him with those locks and don’t like Gerald Wallace with locks either.

  • Perry

    @Al

    It’s not a debate as to whether trading AJ was the right move. I think we’re well past that argument. Nor is it pie in the sky. If the Wolves and Celts can find a willing third team a major deal can go down. There are plenty of teams out there looking to clear cap space. New Orleans, and Golden State to name a few.

    Celts can pay 120% of Nate’s 2009-10 $5m salary using him in a sign and trade. They have roughly $6.5m or more if they’re not forced to buyout out Sheed, and that’s looking promising.

    As for David Lee, there are rumors that Greenwich home Lebron will announce from belongs to Alan Houston. If he opts for NY David Lee is renounced. A sign and trade is plausible just as Chicago reaching to Ray Allen would be.

    It’s sensible to talk about players that comport with the Celts’ cap problems, but I assure you the Kwame summit is nothing more than covering all the bases. Let’s face it. Chicago, Miami and perhaps the Knicks will be 50+ win teams. I would think Danny will try and make a splash…if possible.

  • Jeff

    If Lebron announces what I think he’s going to tomorrow, none of this stuff will matter anyways.

    At least LA won’t win any titles anytime soon either. 5 titles of Lebron, Wade and Bosh will be awesome to watch as the Lakers decend into mediocrity anchored by Kobe’s pathetic contract for $30 mil a year til he’s 36 and broken…LOL!

    That will be my consolation. It’ll give the C’s time to start rebuilding around Rondo after the big 3 are gone too. Then we can swing some trades to get Durant, Gay, and another star who are sick of losing to Wade Lebron and Bosh and they’ll unite at the prime of their career under the C’s flag to crush the competition and bring home banners 18-22!

  • Hilcrestwildcat

    Jermaine Oneal-Eau Claire High school Columbia, SC
    KG Mauldin High School Mauldin, SC
    Ray Allen-Hillcrest High School Dalzell, SC

    definitely a possibility…..

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Golden St. is close to signing David Lee in a sign & trade. That makes me sick. Isn’t there some way we could finagle a trade for David Lee? Surely, he would prefer to play on a team which has a chance to do something. Really love his hustle & energy on the court.

    Danny gave an interview today during halftime of the Cs game. He said Perk was not expected back until Jan.-Feb. He also said something to the effect of wanting a big man to come in & play a lot for the first half of the season— might turn some guys off putting it that way. I think he should of just said, ‘we need a big man to come in right away and play hard for us who is very serious about getting a ring.’

  • Perry

    @Jeff

    My retort in a deal involving Lee or AJ or any incoming contract over $10m is Nate Robinson in conjunction with Sheed. I don’t beleive Nate is a MLE player yet, but there is no reason not to think he’s worth $4m+. There always is next year’s first round pick to add — if the incoming player is worth it. We also don’t know about Ray either. A sign and trade could be on the table, but I hope he stays.

    Perk has no trade value at this point, but I see your logic because the numbers have to work.

    Here’s my Lebron prediction. Chicago is out. Miami remains in play, but I doubt he would want to be part of a new Big 3 and play for petty cash ($12m-14m). This guy is the primo narcissist of our time.

    Anyway, it’s Cleveland for 2 years at $60m with a player option in year three. This would put him firmly in the Farve class of will he or won’t he, and all the anxiety that goes along with it. Hence, ESPN rejoices after the lock out season. Or it is indeed NY, and they take a chance on Ridnour who can play the pick and roll pretty effectively with Amare or LBJ. :-)

  • Perry

    @Cptn Bubbles

    Bad career move for Lee if that happens. Eventually Nellie will deal Ellis and Biedrins.

    Saw that Danny interview and got the same queasy feeling about Perk’s return.

    I think Harangody makes the team.

    Erden D League.

    Don’t know what to make of Gaffney, Simms and the French philosopher.

    Janning was on his way out, but Danny asked him to stick around for the rest of the week. He was good today.

  • I love Green

    Ray Allen is back

  • Adrian

    No way, i think hes soft now worse field goal percentage in playoffs against boston you guys remember.

  • Hillcrestwildcat

    @ Adrian. Didn’t have a PG like Rondo and a Big 3 to mask his shortcomings, he was the 2nd scoring option on a mediocre team, now he’s the fifth on a good one, having him won’t hurt it should actually help.

  • Paul T

    If he comes that cheap, I am a fan of this deal because of what it will mean during the early part of the season when Perk is out. I also like the idea because he is a very strong rebounder, which we desperately need. His offense is not as important on a team with this many offensive options, and quite frankly, the way Perk played down the stretch offensively, O’Neal should be an upgrade offensively.

  • Matt D

    O’Neal brings everything the C’s need. Rebounding, shot blocking, length, another good FT shooter, and a guy who’s been on losing teams who wants to win.

  • Erik Morey

    Great point. Need more articles like this. Wondering if you every plan to feature any Jordan release dates in the near future?

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