Ainge,Celts Plan To Sign Center Jermaine O’Neal

By JIMMY GOLEN

AP Sports Writer

Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge says the team plans

to sign six-time All-Star center Jermaine O'Neal.

The contract is reportedly for the mid-level exception, about

$5.76 million in the first year of a two-year deal.

O'Neal has averaged 14 points and 7.5 rebounds in a 14-year

career for Portland, Indiana, Toronto and Miami. With the Heat last

year, he averaged 13.6 points and 6.9 rebounds.

The defending Eastern Conference champions are looking for big

men because center Kendrick Perkins isn't expected back soon from a

knee injury and backup Rasheed Wallace has said he will retire.

Ainge confirmed the team's intentions after a Celtics' summer

league game in Orlando, Fla.