Jermaine O Neal leaving South Beach
Considering that Jermaine O Neal repeatedly stated that at this point of his career it would be all about winning a championship it is somewhat surprising that the former All-Star center opted to leave the Miami Heat. After all, GM Pat Riley just signed arguably the best trio in NBA history as LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh will all play for the Heat next season. Yet, Jermaine O'Neal decided to sign a new contract with the Boston Celtics for the full MLE instead of joining the “Miami Thrice” on a minimum salary contract.
Either way, the Celtics made another step towards staying at the top of the Eastern Conference as Jermaine O'Neal will further improve coach Doc Rivers' front-court. Last year, the 6-11 center averaged 13.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 28 minutes per contest. Albeit being far beyond his prime he is still a solid defender in the low-post area and has no trouble finding the hoop at the other end of the floor. However, O'Neal is not the only big man the Celtics acquired as GM Danny Ainge also signed European prospect Semih Erden who spent last year with Fenerbahce Ulker in Turkey. In 2009-10, the 7-0 center put up 8.2 points and 5.1 rebounds in the Turkish League while shooting no less than 62% from the floor. Given the fact that the Celtics already have a solid starting center in Kendrick Perkins it remains to be seen what Boston's rotation will look like next year. The most likely scenario appears to be that Perkins and O'Neal will split minutes fairly even where as Semih Erden will probably be limited to some minutes in garbage time and serve as backup in case of injury problems.
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Tags: Jermaine O Neal, Chris Bosh, Danny Ainge, Semih Erden, NBA live
Posted: 22nd July 2010
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