Mark Cuban on Jermaine O'Neal: 'I don't know if he wants to come here'

Jermaine O'Neal could be coming back.  (USATSI)
Jermaine O'Neal could be coming back. (USATSI)

The Dallas Mavericks have a shortage of big men after trading Brandan Wright in the Rajon Rondo deal, and they've been linked to free agent center Jermaine O'Neal. Mavs owner Mark Cuban, however, says he isn't in a hurry to add anybody, O'Neal or otherwise, via Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News:

“When we get the right guy, we’ll get the right guy,” Cuban said. “No rush.”

Asked specifically about O’Neal, Cuban said: “I don’t know if he wants to come here. (There are) a lot of decisions to be made before then.”

Dallas center Tyson Chandler, who has been phenomenal this season, sat out on Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder due to back spasms. The team doesn't believe it's a serious issue, though, so it has not changed the plan. 

Head coach Rick Carlisle added that the Mavericks are "looking at everything" with regard to addressing frontcourt depth. He elected to start diminutive guard J.J. Barea in Chandler's place against the Thunder, shifting Nowitzki to center. This prompted Nowitzki to joke that, when Carlisle informed him, "I thought he had a couple beers to make that decision."

O'Neal, meanwhile, has been unclear with regard whether he intends to retire or keep playing. He's already played 18 seasons in the NBA, and he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Chris Haynes that he'll make a decision in 2-3 weeks. Carlisle has acknowledged O'Neal is an option, and ESPN's Marc Stein reported that the Cavaliers, Clippers and Warriors have interest in him, too.

The veteran was effective as a reserve big man for Golden State last season, so it makes sense that several teams would want him to reprise that role. If he does indeed decide to go to Dallas, though, he'll likely have to adjust to their style of play. He's likely not going to transform into a pick-and-roll monster like Wright, so he probably won't get many touches. It's hard to picture Carlisle running a ton of post-ups for him, like the Warriors did. Still, he can help defensively, and that's the Mavs' biggest issue.

CBS Sports Writer

James Herbert is somewhat fond of basketball, feature writing and understatements. A former season-ticket holder for the expansion Toronto Raptors, Herbert does not think the NBA was better back in the... Full Bio

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