One move that Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge did not hit on was signing Jermaine O’Neal to a contract during the 2010 calendar year. The Celtics had their full mid-level exception available, and they targeted O’Neal right away once free agency began. It still remains unclear as to what their fetish was with the former Indiana Pacer as even at the time it was quite apparent that he was a player on the decline. He still runs with a massive piano on his back, and he was a guy that made zero impact with the Celtics organization.
The Celtics were much better off signing a guy like Anthony Tolliver, for instance, for more than half of the contract they gave O’Neal. O’Neal was probably the slightly better player at the time, but Tolliver is very close and would have been the far better value given the size and lengths of both contracts. The Celtics ate money in this deal because O’Neal seems to miss at least 20 games every single season. If you breathe on the guy, he gets injured. This is not an article meant to completely attack O’Neal; he just stunk in Boston and was a complete waste of money. I am sure he is a nice guy and means well, but it still doesn’t change the fact that he stole money from the Celtics organization.
Ainge has made a number of nice moves as the general manager, but this one was just a head scratcher. He was better off signing a guy to the veteran’s minimum than signing O’Neal to a multiple year contract.
Rob Lunder covers the Boston Celtics for Rant Sports. For all Celtics news go to the team home page on Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @rlunder18