SAN FRANCISCO The future of Jermaine O'Neal with the Boston Celtics was an uncertain one prior to the trading deadline.
It's even murkier amid a report that O'Neal, who is out with a wrist injury, wants the Celtics to buy him out of his contract so that he can then join the Miami Heat -- the team he played for prior to signing with the Celtics in the summer of 2010.
Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, said he plans to meet with O'Neal and his representatives tomorrow afternoon.
"I don't know what's going to come from that meeting," Ainge said.
O'Neal has been out with a wrist injury that could potentially require season-ending surgery. If he elects to return and receives cortisone shots, he would miss a couple of weeks after the treatment.
For the weeks since he left the team, it was believed that he had been out all that time deciding on which course of action was best for him to take.
While out with the injury, the Celtics continued to explore ways to add size and to some extent, move O'Neal.
Currently with a 15-man roster, Ainge will need to find a way to get rid of at least one player, in order to add a much-needed big man.
The easiest way would be to do a buyout of O'Neal, who will become a free agent this summer, or potentially retire from the game. He currently makes 6.2 million.
Boston might also consider doing the same thing with Chris Wilcox, who is out for the season after additional tests on his heart confirmed that he'll need surgery.
If the C's can buy out one or both of them, that would open the door to adding a big man to the roster who can play now.
The Celtics have their eyes set on a number of power forwards and centers, including Chris Kaman in New Orleans.
After failing to trade Kaman, the NBA-owned Hornets may be more willing to buy him out if he's willing to walk way a significant amount of the 14 million he's owed for this season.