When we last heard from Jermaine O’Neal, he took to Twitter to address the speculation that he may make his return to the court later this season as a member of the Dallas Mavericks.
O’Neal made it clear that family will play a big role in his decision, which makes the Mavericks an even likelier fit when considering he makes his home in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
But other teams will of course come calling, and the Blazers — where O’Neal began his 18-year NBA career — are the latest to be added to the list.
From Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
The Portland Trail Blazers have joined the race to try to convince former All-Star center Jermaine O’Neal to play one more NBA season at age 36, according to league sources.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Blazers, who drafted O’Neal out of high school in 1996 and employed him for his first four NBA seasons before a career-changing trade to Indiana, have made overtures to O’Neal about returning to the Pacific Northwest to bolster their hobbled front line in the wake of recent injuries suffered by Robin Lopez (hand) and Joel Freeland (shoulder).
O’Neal hasn’t made a firm decision of whether or not he’ll play this season, but after posting a picture to his Instagram page from Germany with a caption that read, “Today was a great first day of treatments here in Germany! If you know me then you know what this means! But this is the 2nd step in a 3 step process! The first step being my family,” it seems as though he’s preparing for the possibility.
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O’Neal appeared in 44 games for the Warriors last season, and averaged 7.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in 20.1 minutes per contest. The Cavaliers and the Clippers are also reportedly interested in retaining his services.