Pacific Notes: O’Neal, Suns, Rondo, Kings

Family concerns will matter more than the relationships Jermaine O’Neal has with any city or team when the 36-year-old center decides whether to return to the NBA, and if so, which club he’ll play for, as O’Neal detailed today on his verified Twitter account (links here). O’Neal lives in Dallas and has reportedly long wanted to play close to home, and the Mavs are the apparent favorites to land him. The Warriors, for whom O’Neal played last, as well as the Clippers and Cavs are also said to be interested in the 18-year veteran. Of those teams, Golden State is the only one for which O’Neal has played previously, so it would seem that his remarks today are a harbinger that he won’t be returning to the Bay Area, though that’s just my interpretation. Here’s more news related to Pacific Division teams:

  • People around the league sense that the Suns would be more willing to deal Isaiah Thomas than Eric Bledsoe or Goran Dragic, Grantland’s Zach Lowe writes. Rival executives have picked up the impression that Dragic is the one among those three point guards whom Phoenix would most like to keep, as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported this weekend.
  • The Mavs are “extremely confident” that Rajon Rondo will re-sign with the team, but the Lakers, among others, would love for the point guard to hit free agency, as Sam Amick of USA Today says in a video report. The Lakers were involved in trade talks with the Celtics about Rondo, and Chris Mannix of SI.com indicated last month that the Lakers are likely to pursue him in free agency.
  • Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro and former Kings coach Michael Malone weren’t on speaking terms during the months leading up to Malone’s dismissal, according to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Tyrone Corbin knows he’s only a short-term solution, according to Voisin, though Chris Broussard of ESPN.com hears that Corbin will have a legitimate opportunity to coach the team (Twitter link), as D’Alessandro has publicly insisted. In any case, Voisin implores the team to hire George Karl.
  • Miroslav Raduljica and Shandong of the Chinese Basketball Association have agreed to a buyout in which the center gave up $300K of his $1.5MM deal, reports Nick Bedard of Basketballbuddha.com. The Clippers, in a series of money-saving moves this summer, acquired Raduljica from the Bucks and quickly waived him via the stretch provision.

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