The Golden State Warriors are so concerned about the loss of backup center Jermaine O’Neal that they have considered asking assistant coach Brian Scalabrine to come out of retirement, according to Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle.
O’Neal suffered a right knee sprain and a right groin sprain early in the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ 102-88 victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday. His status will be updated on Monday.
Signing as a free agent with the Warriors in the offseason, O’Neal has settled into the backup center role behind Andrew Bogut quite nicely, averaging 5.8 points and 3.2 rebounds in 17.3 minutes per game.
“I know he’ll bounce back,” Klay Thompson told the Chronicle. ”He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever met.”
As the Warriors scramble to find a replacement for O’Neal should he be out long-term, would they consider something so drastic as asking Scalabrine to don a Golden State jersey and back up Bogut?
Scalabrine retired in 2012 after playing 11 seasons in the NBA with the Nets, Celtics, and Bulls, averaging 3.1 points and 2.0 rebounds in his career.
He was undoubtedly one of the most popular players in the league towards the end of his career. He only saw playing time during “garbage minutes,” and would get a rousing cheer from the fans.
But Scalabrine is 35 years old, which is the same age as O’Neal. Even if he does suit up for the Warriors, it would only be a short-term plug, which is essentially O’Neal’s situation as well.
For now, accordion to the Chronicle, Ognjen Kuzmic and Draymond Green will receive more playing time. David Lee will see some playing time at center, and so will Lee’s backup, Marreese Speights.