Jermaine O’Neal had options this summer — he was a skilled big man who would be playing for a very affordable contract. Two contenders in the East wanted him, Miami and Boston.
O’Neal has been near the top looking down on the rest of the league before, with Indiana in the pre-brawl years. It was a long fall from there. He’s learned a lot, much of it the hard way. He gets now how sacrifice is needed for winning.
So when it came to choosing between Miami and Boston, O’Neal went with where they have proven they will sacrifice, not just where people have talked about it, O’Neal told the Boston Globe.
“There’s no ego [in Boston], and it’s hard to find no egos,” O’Neal said. “As good as individual players are, especially when I look at a situation like Miami, none of those guys had to really deal with sacrificing.
“That’s what made Boston more intriguing for me and a situation I thought would be better for me. These guys [in Miami] are all really good individual guys that are used to shooting 20 times a night just last year. These are all young guys.
“So no matter what you say or how you say it, they’re going to still want the credit. But I know the Boston Celtics aren’t about that.”
The book is still out on Miami — they are saying all the right things, these are all guys who may be young but are wise in the game beyond their years. LeBron, Wade and Bosh may be ready to make the necessary sacrifices. But they have to prove it.
Boston has proved it. It’s why they have a ring and were on the verge of another last season. O’Neal felt more comfortable with that.
And because he did, Boston is even closer to a title.
Tim Thomas only played in 18 games for Dallas last seasons. When he did he gave them some solid veteran play off the bench, and 7.5 points in just under 16 minutes.
For the first part of the year, Thomas was recovering from knee surgery. But he talked with NBA.com’s Alex Garcia about the second half, when Thomas needed time to take care of his family and ill wife.
“It was about taking care of my wife, but I watched basketball as much as I could and I always kept up with what Dallas was doing,” he said. “I reached out to everybody right before the playoffs and wished everybody well.
“Of course I watched the playoff games and thought about situations where I could have helped. It was tough to know that the guys were going to war and I wasn’t there to help, but at the same time everybody was reaching out with their prayers for my wife.”
Thomas said he got an outpouring of support from throughout the Mavericks organization. So while he could have looked around, Thomas said he wanted to come back to the Mavs, to repay them for the understanding and care they had shown him.
“I wanted to come back and help my team, but things happened in the household,” he said. “The team allowed me to go and to try to work things out. When things started going downhill, they allowed me to stay home and take care of what’s most important — your family. I really appreciate that from them. I’m happy that everything worked out as far as my wife’s health.”
This season will be the 14th in the NBA for the 33-year-old.
Tracy McGrady has had two workouts for teams.
There was the Clippers, but that was almost considered a favor for his agent and an effort to put pressure on Chicago to act. The Clippers roster is was fairly set and McGrady was not going to be part of it unless he blew them away. He didn’t.
Then there was Chicago, who needed a floor spacing wing man to come off the bench. He had his workout and… the Bulls yesterday signed Keith Bogans to a deal.
McGrady knows what that means, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.
It’s been nearly two weeks since McGrady’s audition at Chicago’s practice facility, when he appeared to create his own obstacles to landing a Bogans-esque deal by following up the workout with a flurry of comments that suggest he still sees himself on Carlos Boozer’s level … when the Bulls were hoping to hear accept-any-role humility.
McGrady’s other problem was the Bulls also were (and are) intrigued by Rudy Fernandez, the Portland guard who wants to be a guard anywhere but Portland. The issue there, according to Stein, is that Portland wanted Taj Gibson and Chicago was only offering a pick. Those two sides remain far, far apart.
Which doesn’t really help McGrady.
After the Bulls and Clippers worked him out and then went in different directions — and with the Miami Heat seemingly out of roster room and thought to be highly hesitant to bring in big names for the LeBron James/Dwyane Wade/Chris Bosh supporting cast — there are no other known suitors in circulation for T-Mac.
And in the wake of what happened with Allen Iverson last year, teams will be hesitant to bring in an aging player with a big personality who still thinks he can play a big role, when his body keeps him from that level.