WALTHAM — Jermaine O’Neal did not pull a Lamar Odom once he found out his name had surfaced in trade rumors and skipped practice. He participated fully Saturday and then addressed the potential deal that would send his expiring contract to New Orleans for former all-star forward David West.
The deal is in the works, according to an NBA source and it has been indicated that West is mulling an extension offer to make it happen.
O’Neal has been traded before and expressed no hard feelings about the possibility of being shipped again. He just made it clear he wants to play for a championship contender — or not at all.
“I feel the same way as when I commented about (Rajon) Rondo the other day,” he said. “It’s a business. We understand the position these general managers are in, they’ll talk about anybody. If they have a chance of making their team better in their opinion, you can’t control those type of things.”
Because of his expiring contract and aging legs, O’Neal understand that he could be trade bait.
“The first option is to stay here, I’m getting comfortable with the guys and the system, that’s first and foremost,” he said. “But you never want to act like you don’t understand the business. We had a good day of practice and that’s what I am focused on. When I get the call or if I get the call, that’s the way it will be.”
O’Neal said that if there was a deal in the works, it likely would include a third team because he is convinced rebuilding New Orleans would not want to keep him.
“If I’m not in Boston, I want to be somewhere where i can contend for a championship,” he said.