OAKLAND -- Jermaine O'Neal, like so many before him, is bent on going out on his own terms. The 17-year vet, who has spent half his life in the NBA, is hoping to make one last bang.
And in Golden State is where the six-time All-Star wants to do it.
"I'm not by any means coming here to be a player-coach," said O'Neal, who signed his one-year, $2 million contract with the Warriors on Tuesday. "I wouldn't have taken this opportunity if I felt like I couldn't perform."
The Warriors tried to get O'Neal at last year's trade deadline, but he opted to finish out the year with Phoenix. But now O'Neal, who said he chose rebuilding Phoenix so he can play under lower expectations, is ready for unfinished business.
The Warriors provide the opportunity. They have minutes available, especially with center Festus Ezeli out until at least December. They also have the youthful energy he wants and a need for the veteran presence he brings.
What's more, O'Neal, who will turn 35 in October, said the team has a chance to put him back in championship contention.
He still has a sour taste from his stint in Boston. He was supposed to be the center who helped get the Celtics over the hump to another title. But he totaled 49 games in two seasons with the Celtics (2010-12). For the first time since he became an All-Star, O'Neal failed to average at least 10 points and six rebounds.
"My two years in Boston were very difficult to deal with, especially when you know that you still can play," O'Neal said. "But my knee was causing so much problems. We were talking about winning it all, and I wasn't able to help the team do that."
It was the second time O'Neal missed a championship opportunity -- the first being the infamous November 2004 brawl with the host Detroit Pistons that doomed his championship contending Indiana Pacers.
So O'Neal took a risk. He flew to Germany in June 2012 so that renowned surgeon Dr. Peter Wehling could fix his ailing left knee. As Kobe Bryant did years ago, O'Neal underwent Regenokine treatment -- a form of blood-manipulation therapy. It works by taking blood from the patient, manipulating it to get a concentrated protein-heavy fluid, then injecting it into the problem area.
"It was one of the best things I've done," O'Neal said. "I knew about it three years ago, but I didn't take Kobe's advice."
With revitalized knees, O'Neal ramped up his offseason workout and got his body together. The result was 55 games in Phoenix last season, averaging 8.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in nearly 19 minutes off the bench.
It worked out so well that O'Neal went back to Germany for more treatment last month and is ramping up his offseason work even more.
"The thing I like about him is he showed last year that he still has something in the tank," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "I like the fact that he's coming off a very good year. He hurt us when we played them. He can still impact the game. His ability to defend. His ability to post up. He's tough, and he competes."
While O'Neal wants to end his career on his own terms, he definitely knows the end is nearing. If it's not his knees, or a game that's no longer effective, the pull of home could end it.
In March, his 11-year-old daughter underwent open-heart surgery, causing O'Neal to miss several games. He said Tuesday she is doing "fantastic" and already back to excelling in school and running around. But he acknowledges that it gets harder to be away from her.
On top of that, O'Neal's 7-year-old son usually cries when O'Neal leaves for work -- which in the past five years has been in Phoenix, Boston, Miami and Toronto.
He said his son asked him to play in Dallas, where the family lives, or retire.
O'Neal said he was leaning toward signing with the Mavericks before he and his son had a heart to heart.
"I had a conversation with him," O'Neal said. "True story. I said, 'Hey, listen. Can you run this house while I'm gone for one more year?' He said, 'Yeah. I can take care of the house one more year.' So everything I have I'm going to put into this one more year."