O’Neal to sign with Celtics

Free-agent center Jermaine O’Neal(notes) has reached agreement to sign a two-year contract worth about $12 million with the Boston Celtics, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

O’Neal had been deliberating between the Celtics and Denver Nuggets.

Boston needed a center to help fill in for Kendrick Perkins, who is expected to be out five to six months with a severe knee injury. Rasheed Wallace also has indicated he plans to retire.

After falling one game short of winning their second NBA championship in three years, the Celtics have been active in free agency to solidify their roster for another run.

The Celtics reached agreement on a two-year, $20 million contract with Ray Allen on Wednesday, five days after giving Paul Pierce a four-year, $61 million extension. Coach Doc Rivers also announced last week he would return for another season.

O’Neal, 31, averaged 13.6 points and 6.9 rebounds for the Heat last season.

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Updated Thursday, Jul 8, 2010