WEDNESDAY, 8:01am: The only reason a deal between O’Neal and the Mavs hasn’t happened yet is because of the Orthokine knee treatments O’Neal traveled to Germany to receive, writes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.
SUNDAY, 11:31pm: The Mavericks are high on their chances to ink Jermaine O’Neal this season, and they believe they’re slowly moving closer to a deal, report Tim MacMahon and Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Dallas hopes to sign the 36-year-old center by the All-Star break, MacMahon and Stein hear. O’Neal has made it clear to suitors that he won’t play until he’s in better shape, but he’s been going through intense workouts this month at his home near Dallas, according to the ESPN scribes. The 18-year veteran recently visited Germany to undergo a treatment on his knees, one that he believes helped him prepare to play for the Warriors last season, MacMahon and Stein note.
It’s unclear whether the Warriors remain interested in re-signing O’Neal, as they reportedly were last month, when Stein identified the Cavs and Clippers among the teams eyeing the Arn Tellem client. Stein left the Warriors off his list of teams when he identified the Blazers as one of the teams in the mix. In between, O’Neal seemed to drop hints that he wouldn’t return to Golden State.
This latest dispatch from MacMahon and Stein echoes the confidence that Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson expressed a month ago when he said he felt chances were “pretty good” that Dallas would sign either O’Neal or Josh Smith. That was shortly before Smith went to the Rockets instead. The Mavs only have the prorated minimum salary to spend on O’Neal, but none of the other teams that reports have linked to him can offer more at this point.