Jermaine O’Neal (2010)
Once it became clear that the Miami Heat was going to pivot away from Jermaine O’Neal (in search of bigger fish in free agency) after the 2009-10 season, the Boston Celtics emerged as a potential fit. The Celtics ended up signing O’Neal to a two-year deal. However, in large part due to injury, O’Neal’s two years with the Celtics was pretty much a disaster. In two years combined, O’Neal played a combined 49 games for the Celtics while averaging less than six points and five rebounds combined per contest.
When he was signed, the hope was that O’Neal could emerge as a valuable veteran to solidify the team’s bench frontcourt. Because of injuries and inconsistent play, O’Neal never was able to fill that role for the Celtics.
If it wasn’t already obvious that O’Neal was well beyond his prime years in the league, it became apparent after his time with the Heat. O’Neal played a couple of more seasons in the league in a reserved role before finally retiring after the 2013-14 season. Looking back at O’Neal’s career in the NBA, you can say that the final year of his “prime” was the 2006-07 season. The Celtics were a few years too late on O’Neal.