Phoenix Suns Agree to Terms with Free-Agent Center Jermaine O'Neal

Roberto PayneContributor IAugust 10, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 22:  Jermaine O'Neal #7 of the Boston Celtics reacts against the New York Knicks in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 22, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns were in need of depth at center after trading away Robin Lopez, and they got their man with the signing of free-agent Jermaine O'Neal.

O'Neal was plagued by a wrist injury last season with the Boston Celtics, but did well during his 25 games played. His averages of 5.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 22.8 minutes were good enough for him to be the starting center for Boston.

Signing with the Suns is a great move for O'Neal to get his career back on track, as the team has the best training staff in the NBA and he can get fully healthy this season. Just ask Grant Hill, Steve Nash and Michael Redd; they'll attest to how effective the training staff is.

O'Neal should come in and immediately challenge Channing Frye for the back-up center position. Frye and O'Neal are two different players, as Frye is a three-point shooter and O'Neal is a physical, defensive-minded player. But both should get an equal shot to win the job.

Although, O'Neal might be exactly what the Suns need on their front line—someone tough who will come off the bench and provide a defensive presence in the paint. Frye certainly is more offensive-minded, so whoever gets more minutes could depend on the situation of each game and the philosophy of the coaching staff.

Either way, this is a great move for the Suns to bolster the frontcourt and prepare for the return of the 82-game schedule.