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Latest big man linked to C’s: Jermaine O’Neal

Free agent center Jermaine O’Neal [1] is the latest big man to be linked to the Celtics [2]. He told ESPN’s Marc Stein [3] that he was considering the Celtics along with the Mavericks and Nuggets.

O’Neal joins Brad Miller [4], Shaquille O’Neal [5], Brendan Haywood [6] and Kwame Brown [7] in the race for the Celtics’ mid-level exception and a chance to replace the injured Kendrick Perkins [8]. Brown is obviously the least accomplished of that group.

The Celtics made O’Neal look terrible in the playoffs, but he’s younger than Miller and Shaq and, playoffs aide, O’Neal had a good season with Miami in 2009-10. He appeared in 70 games for the first time since 2003-04 and he shot over 50 percent for the first time in his career en route to averaging 13 points and seven rebounds a game.

It’s expected that the free agent logjam will open up once LeBron James [9] make his decision Thursday. O’Neal was not expected to re-sign with the Heat, an expectation that became reality once Chris Bosh announced he was going to Miami with Dwyane Wade [10].