Free agent center Jermaine O’Neal took a page out of the Kobe Bryant playbook and flew out to Germany for some innovative treatment on his creaky knees. O’Neal claims he hasn’t felt this good physically in years, and hopes to contribute to an NBA team next season. (J.O. remains quite salty about the way things ended for him in Beantown.) Per the Boston Globe: “The Lakers are considering taking a chance on O’Neal with a minimum contract, needing just a handful of minutes per game to spell Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. O’Neal, 33, said he wants to return to the NBA following arthroscopic surgery on his left wrist performed by Celtics team physician Brian McKeon and therapeutic procedures on both knees in Germany. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez underwent the same knee procedure and both said it has added years to their careers. O’Neal hopes it adds at least one more year after a frustrating two-year tenure with the Celtics that ended with a broken wrist and mounting frustration. Limited to just 49 games over two seasons, O’Neal said he enjoyed playing with the Big Three and playing before the Boston fans but was perplexed by his role in the offense, or lack thereof. […] ‘I had a fantastic time in Boston, with the city, the fans were phenomenal, the organization was phenomenal, I just don’t know if the playing situation was right to be quite honest,’ he said. ‘The hardest thing for me was to not be able to do some of the things I have been quite comfortable doing all my life. I accepted the challenge. I accepted the role. [I didn’t want] 10 shots a game, but it was hard to be told not to worry about [scoring].’ After averaging at least 10.6 shots per game — and a career-high 19.4 in 2004-05 — for 12 consecutive seasons, O’Neal attempted 4.5 in 2010-11 and 4.8 last season. ‘When I was asked about [offense], I tried to be as professional about it as possible but it’s hard,’ he said. ‘You put any player in that position and ask them how that’s going to pan out for them; it’s hard mentally because you’re fighting against yourself every single day. And it’s not like you’re getting the reps, even in practice, because they’re going to stay away from that in practice because they don’t want you to start leaning towards that in games. It was really rough. The things that kept me going was the guys on that team, [team president of basketball operations] Danny Ainge and just the passion of that city. No one wants it to end the way it ended, but it did. I was never really healthy mentally. It took everything in my mind, body and soul to be professional about it. When that’s said to you in front of a team, it bothers you.’ […] ‘Listen, I don’t want to confuse anybody doing this interview. I’m not saying by any means I can go for 18, 20 a night. But I know I’m still good enough to go for 20 on any given night, if given the opportunity. I wasn’t given the opportunity to post up at all. Not even in practice.'”
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