Alex Kennedy over at HoopsWorld just tweeted from Jermaine O’Neal’s workout for the Lakers. The good news is that Jermaine *survived* the workout. He’s fine. None of his vital organs failed from overexertion, he did not turn into glass and shatter into a thousand pieces like Wile E. Coyote, and apparently he had enough wind afterward to talk some junk about his time in Boston.
Jermaine O’Neal said that Boston wasn’t a good fit for him. He’s looking forward to finding a situation where he can have a better role.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 17, 2012
Jermaine was the starting center for the Celtics for much of his time with in the organization, but occasionally came off the bench when he was returning from his many injuries or before the Perkins trade. He was asked to rebound, play defense, and score when he got good looks while sharing the floor with the league’s best playmaker. Pretty solid opportunity for a 32-year-old who, again, has had every injury.
So it’s unclear what kind of role O’Neal is angling for here. Combo guard? Sideline reporter? Does he have a quick-change act he’s hoping to unveil as a halftime show?
Rest assured that the Celtics feel pretty much the same way about Jermaine as you do at this point (if you don’t like him). Multiple sources with close ties to the organization have revealed to CelticsHub that O’Neal was considered a difficult primadonna by both many of his teammates and Celtics staff. He repeatedly refused to go along with team recommendations for how to handle his injuries, and at times wouldn’t respond to phone calls from the team, to the point that they had to send representatives to his home in Las Vegas during the offseason just to get in touch with him.
Brian Robb lit up Jermaine in early 2011 after he waited a month of the regular season before going with the team doctor’s suggestion to get his knee cleaned out. Robb got pretty much shredded for it at the time, but he was really just echoing what the team’s training staff thought about Jermaine all along, and what we’ve basically all figured out by now: Jermaine didn’t feel like he owed anything to the team that was paying him 6.226 million dollars (to shoot 21 percent from 10-15 feet, “his range”).
This latest soundbite is really just so Jermaine can get across that not only does he believe he did everything right during his time with the Celtics, he feels like he was not treated ideally while he was there. Shame on you, Celtics organization, for not giving Jermaine O’Neal a “better role.” Hopefully the Lakers will learn from Boston’s mistakes and do this guy right: start him over both Bynum and Gasol and just play 4-on-5.
UPDATE: “Listen, I don’t want to confuse anybody doing this interview. I’m not saying by any means I can go for 18, 20 a night. But I know I’m still good enough to go for 20 on any given night, if given the opportunity.”