DALLAS Now that the excitement surrounding the acquisition of point guard Rajon Rondo is settling in, the reality of the situation is that the Dallas Mavericks really need a veteran center to back up Tyson Chandler.
And Jermaine O’Neal appears to be the man to fill the bill.
O’Neal played for Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle when Carlisle coached the Indiana Pacers from 2003-’07, and was a teammate of Rondo’s with the Celtics from 2010-’12.
Last year in 44 games with the Golden State Warriors, O’Neal averaged 7.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in only 20.1 minutes per game. The 6-foot-11, 255-pound 18-year veteran could be exactly what the Mavericks are looking for after they dealt Brandan Wright to Boston in the Rondo trade.
Never miss a local story.
“Well he’s had a terrific year, had a real solid year last year for Golden State despite having some injury issues,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. “I have not talked to him yet myself.
“It’s a possibility, but I don’t want to jump the gun out of respect to him and his family, so we’ll see. It’s certainly one option.’’
O’Neal, 36, lives in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and has always talked about one day playing for the Mavericks.
With 23-year Greg Smith being the backup to Chandler, the Mavericks would rather have someone as their No. 2 center who has been through the trenches than an unproven player in his fourth season.
“Greg Smith has been sitting here waiting for an opportunity, and so he steps up into the picture,’’ Carlisle said. “He’s worked hard and he’ll get a chance -- we need him at this point.
“Beyond that, we’ll keep our eyes open around the league for opportunities if there are some. We now have an open roster spot, so as time goes forward we’ll see what’s what.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760