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Report: Jermaine O’Neal to decide in January whether to return to NBA, contenders want him

Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 1: Jermaine O’Neal #7 of the Golden State Warriors in a game against the Sacramento Kings on December 1, 2013 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California. 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 Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Quality NBA big men are hard to come by. Even mediocre NBA big men are hard to come by, which is guys well past their expiration date keep getting chances.

Enter Jermaine O’Neal. Last you saw him the Golden State Warriors inserted him into their starting lineup for the first three games of their playoff series against the Clippers. By Game 7 of that series he could’t get on the court, he had fallen far out of Mark Jackson’s rotation (and the Clippers won the series). After that the Warriors decided not to bring him back this season (they went with Festus Ezeli, a guy who had missed the entire previous season with a knee injury). O’Neil mulled retirement and wasn’t in any camp this fall.

But O’Neal is tough, a veteran, and has the size you can’t teach (officially 6’11”, 262 pounds). Which means if he decides to come back — and he’s considering it — a number of teams are going to line up as suitors, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Depth along the front line is hard to come by so it’s not a shock that teams are lining up. O’Neal can provide a decent defensive anchor in the paint for limited minutes, plus he can score a little (not efficiently, but he can score). He’s had knee issues (he’s been to Germany for the Kobe treatment) but playing just half a season in a limited role shouldn’t be a problem.

The question is, does O’Neal want to put himself through the work to get in shape, get with a team and give this one more run? Tune in next month for the answer.