The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to bolster their frontcourt with veteran players, and Jermaine O’Neal is now being targeted.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reported via Twitter that the team hopes to add O’Neal and Antawn Jamison in addition to retaining Jordan Hill:
Lakers could be landing forward Antawn Jamison & center Jermaine O'Neal to minimum deals, sources tell Y! Jordan Hill interest remains, too.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 17, 2012
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported on July 13 that the team was taking interest in veteran big men, and both Jamison and O’Neal were intriguing options for the front office. Now the team is taking action.
Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reported that Jamison has agreed to sign with the Lakers, but this has not been confirmed.
Los Angeles is over the salary cap, which limits its options to sign free agents. The veteran minimum is one of its few tools to add new talent.
Jamison will help with the scoring, as he averaged 17.2 points per game with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season.
O’Neal is not as much of an offensive threat at this point in his career, but he still provides size and rebounding off the bench. Last year with the Boston Celtics, he averaged 5.0 points and 5.4 rebounds in 22.8 minutes per game.
The 33-year-old’s athleticism is limited, but he likely won't have to log serious minutes. If Jamison does end up with the Lakers, O’Neal will be the fifth frontcourt option behind Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Jamison and Josh McRoberts.
L.A. will expect O’Neal to attack the boards and play solid defense for a few minutes a game. The team is clearly looking to add reliable veterans who will buy into a championship-or-bust mentality, something O’Neal gained with his time in Boston.