According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Portland Trail Blazers are trying to convince Jermaine O'Neal to don an NBA uniform once more. Ideally they'd prefer the crimson and black of the team that drafted him back in 1996.
Though several suitors are calling, O'Neal remains undecided at this point. He's currently in Germany receiving knee treatment.
Sources say O'Neal has made no firm decision about resuming his career, but he did post a picture to his Instragram account Monday from Germany, where he is getting the same treatment on his knees that he has credited with extending his career through successful stints with the Phoenix Suns and Golden State.
Stein also indicates that the decision to return--both "if" and "where"--may be governed by family priorities as much as professional concerns:
O'Neal said recently: "For 18 long years sports has dominated my [family's] life to a point that they have had to sacrifice things that [were] important to them. So you can believe now whatever decision I make will be a pure family decision that my family will have a huge part on making with me.
"Do I still love the game of basketball? Yes without a doubt! Can I physically still play? Probably better than 60% of the bigs in the league today! That's not a knock on anyone but more about how I feel. ... I've been blessed to have the opportunity to play for some great coaches, organizations and cities and I will always have love for them! But I love my family more than I love life itself and they will have the final say on my playing career or the closing of my career!
The Blazers traded O'Neal in August of 2000 for Dale Davis of the Indiana Pacers. He won the NBA's Most Improved Player award in 2001-02 and was named to 6 All-Star Teams. The 36-year-old O'Neal is averaging 13 points and 7 rebounds over an 18-year career. Last year he averaged 8 points and 5.5 rebounds in 20 minutes per game for the Golden State Warriors.
Hat tip to Blazing Chargers for getting the story up in the Fanshot section.