Report: The Portland Trail Blazers are interested in C Jermaine O'Neal

Wednesday January 7th, 2015

The Portland Trail Blazers have joined the group of teams pursuing veteran center Jermaine O'Neal, according to a report from ESPN's Marc Stein.

It is not yet known whether O'Neal, who at age 36 is pondering retirement, will decide to join a team, but on Dec. 23, he posted a series of messages to his Twitter account regarding his decision. In one message, O'Neal wrote, "I will say this, if the decision is to play I promise you that when I hit the court I will be ready physically and mentally to help a team!"

In addition, the report says O'Neal has made "no firm decision" about whether he'll play again. 

O'Neal is currently in Germany undergoing treatment, and Stein noted that O'Neal is expected to undergo intense fitness work over the next couple of weeks to ensure he is physically prepared to play another season.

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According to the report, the Dallas Mavericks are considered the frontrunners to land O'Neal, and the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers are other teams known to be interested in him.

The Blazers' reported pursuit of O'Neal comes as the team is dealing with multiple injuries in its frontcourt. Robin Lopez is out with a fractured hand and Joel Freeland is sidelined with a shoulder strain.

Over 18 seasons in the league, O'Neal has averaged 13.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. In 44 games with the Golden State Warriors last season, he posted averages of 7.9 points and 5.5 rebounds.

The Blazers (27-8) are tied with the Golden State Warriors for the most wins in the league. Portland hosts the Miami Heat (15-20) on Thursday.

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