Haynes: Jermaine O’Neal Open To Returning To Blazers
Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com reported yesterday former Trail Blazer Jermaine O’Neal would be interested in returning to Portland
if his services were needed. The 17-year NBA veteran was drafted by the Trail Blazers in 1996 and played for the team for four seasons before being traded.
“I'm very open to Portland. They're definitely a team I'm looking forward to having talks with this summer,” O'Neal, an unrestricted free agent come July 1, told CSNNW.com. “LaMarcus [Aldridge] and Damian [Lillard] along with [Nicolas] Batum are some great pieces to build around. All they need to do is shore up the bench and add a paint presence on defense and they'll be right there. It's hard to put that type of stress on your starting five and I know I can help ease some of that stress.”
O’Neal also shared his thoughts on Portland's young center Meyers Leonard and how he could contribute to his development.
“I like Meyers,” he said. “He's an athletic talent that is going to get even better in this league. But I think I can help him become a better defender, rebounder, shot blocker. That's part of the job, veterans helping out the younger players. I did that here in Phoenix and that is something I would do in Portland if signed there.”
There’s no doubt acquiring a veteran big is at the top of the Trail Blazers to-do list, but is 34-year-old O’Neal that guy? You tell me.