If there is an NBA season this year, it will be the last for Celtics forward Jermaine O'Neal. While participating in Las Vegas in the Impact Competitive Training Series, the 33 year-old forward told CSNNE.com that he plans to retire following the conclusion of the 2011-12 season.
"I'm going into my 16th year, so I know my time is near," said O'Neal. "I know someday the ball is going to go flat; you have to plan for life after basketball and that's what I've been doing."
O'Neal signed a two-year contract with the Celtics last summer for a final push to win a championship. He averaged just 5.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game last season, the lowest numbers he's had since he was in Portland in the early part of his career.
With the NBA season in jeopardy, O'Neal says playing overseas like other players is not an option. He wants to spend time with his family and kids.
"I have a 5-year-old son and a 12-year-old girl," he said. "They want to spend a lot of time with Daddy. At this point in my career, it doesn't make sense to go overseas and play for half-a-season. I want to be able to be ready and fully prepared mentally and physically for what may be my last season."