O’Neal says Celtics best fit for him

Published 12:08 am Thursday, July 15, 2010

WALTHAM, Mass. — Veterans are lining up to sign with the Miami Heat for the minimum salary and a chance to play with Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

Jermaine O’Neal decided it was time to take his talents and depart South Beach.

“I knew what they were trying to do, and I could have re-signed back with those guys,” he said Wednesday after passing his physical with the Boston Celtics. “But it comes down to fit. It comes down to personalities and style of play, and I thought Boston has all that for me. It came down to winning now, and not worrying about chemistry.”

Email newsletter signup

O’Neal agreed last week to a two-year deal, the first for the midlevel exception of about $5.76 million. For now, he is expected to start in place of injured center Kendrick Perkins, and after that he is content to fill a role off the bench for a team that won it all in 2008 and returned to the NBA finals this year.

“Being a part of something great is what matters to me,” O’Neal told reporters at the team’s workout facility. “I know what the city represents. I know what the organization represents. I know what the guys on the court represent. Obviously, those guys they have a ring already, but they want another one. I don’t have one, and I want one. They know what it takes to get one.”