Veteran big man Jermaine O'Neal, one of the NBA's all-time good guys, will finish a season that has been stressful professionally and personally with the Phoenix Suns. Briefly considering trying to reach a buyout with the Suns so he could join a contender in the dusk of 17-year-career, O'Neal told USA TODAY Sports in a text message that he will not seek a buyout. O'Neal was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat in January, and his 13-year-old daughter, Asjia, will undergo heart surgery in early March. "I have a tough situation coming up with my daughter," O'Neal told The (Phoenix) Arizona Republic last week. "She's having heart surgery in Boston on March 5. She has a leaky valve that has to be corrected because her body is having to work too hard. She is having chest pains. "For me, it's one thing after another. ... Every time I think about basketball, real life tends to talk to me a little bit. My focus is to finish my job and what I signed up to do." O'Neal also had a verbal dispute with Suns GM Lance Blanks that led some to believe he was unhappy with the coaching situation. He is having a decent season with the struggling Suns. In 16.9 minutes per game, O'Neal is averaging 7.2 points and 4.9 rebounds. Take a closer look at O'Neal per-38 minutes totals (15.4 points, 10.4 rebounds) -- not bad for a 34-year-old with lots of miles.
Jermaine O'Neal will finish season with Suns
USA Today | Feb 22