After playing just 24 and 25 games for the Celtics the previous two seasons, the injury-prone Jermaine O’Neal signed with the Suns and their seemingly magical training staff.
Well, O’Neal played 55 games in Phoenix, and he looked relative spry while on the court. For a player who averaged just 57 games per season in his career and was 34 and in his 17th season, 55 games is pretty remarkable.
Now, O’Neal seems ready ready to leave the nest in searcher of greener NBA pastures, but first he stopped off in Germany to meet with Dr. Peter Wehling, noted for developing Regenokine, the treatment Kobe Bryant used:
He also doesn’t sound like someone intent on returning to the Suns (hat tip: Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld):
The obvious first guess for O’Neal’s destination is Miami. As the Eastern Conference Finals showed, the Heat could use another defensive big man, and the Pacers aren’t going away.
O’Neal played for the Heat just before LeBron James and Chris Bosh signed as free agents, and at the time, O’Neal wasn’t on board and signed with Boston. Via Chris Forsberg of ESPN:
“I knew what [the Heat] were trying to do, and I could have re-signed back with those guys,” he said Wednesday after passing his physical with the Celtics. “But it comes down to fit. It comes down to personalities and style of play, and I thought Boston has all that for me. It came down to winning now, and not worrying about chemistry.”
O’Neal’s best chance to win now will likely come from the Heat, but is he over the fit issue? He’s likely healthy enough that he’ll have the option of Miami or other suitors, so we’ll probably find out.