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The Portland Trail Blazers are reportedly the latest team to join the race to convince veteran center Jermaine O’Neal to return to the NBA.
O’Neal has made no decision on his future after he left the Golden State Warriors at the end of last season, and the 36-year-old had been tipped to retire.
However, both the Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers have expressed an interest in signing him, and a chance to win an NBA title could be one that he finds difficult to turn down.
In addition, he could now have the possibility of returning to where it all started after he was drafted out of high school in 1996 by the Blazers and played the first four seasons of his career for the franchise.
With both Robin Lopez and Joel Freeland injured, Portland could do with cover in their front court, but the Mavericks are widely regarded as the front-runners for O’Neal’s signature.
The veteran gave hope to the teams interested in him on Monday as he posted a photo from Germany on Instagram where he is getting the same knee treatment that he credited for extending his career through successful stints with Phoenix and Golden State.
“Today was a great first day of treatments here in Germany!” O’Neal wrote. “If you know me then you know what this means!”
O’Neal has previously insisted that he still loves playing basketball, but his decision to take time out and consider his options was fuelled by his family and he has hinted at the possibility of leaving basketball behind in order to focus on them.
However, the intrigue of a move to Dallas as well as a possible return to Portland will likely make his decision difficult and both franchises will hope to see him suit up for them before the season is over.