May 5, 2014, 11:54 AM EDT
Who would have thought Jermaine O’Neal would be starting playoff games in 2014?
With Andrew Bogut injured, the Warriors initially started O’Neal before turning to Draymond Green in their first-round loss to the Clippers. That followed a strong regular season, in which O’Neal averaged 7.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in 20.1 minutes per game.
That success leaves O’Neal, 35, options for his future.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
GS C Jermaine O'Neal is expected to take his time deciding whether to keep playing or retire. Still loves game but yearns to be with family.—
Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) May 05, 2014
I believe basketball and family are both important to O’Neal, but other factors likely also play a role – especially money and health.
At minimum, O’Neal would make $1,448,490 next season. Once he retires, he’ll never have that high a salary again. O’Neal better be certain before passing up that type of money.
O’Neal will turn 36 before next season, and he should also consider his health. In the last four years, he’s played just 44, 55, 25 and 24 games. Glen Davis nearly ended his career last week. If he plays, he’ll almost certainly hold a limited role, so that should help at least.
If O’Neal decides to play, he’ll be a free agent. Whether he returns to the Warriors might depend on their coach next season, but other suitors should arise.
First, he must decide on retirement.
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