O'Neal has gone out of his way to prove he's ready for a fresh start in Toronto.
Following news of the deal, O'Neal called Colangelo, Raptors
head coach Sam Mitchell and Bosh, in each case assuring them he was determined to make the most of a fresh start and fit in well alongside Bosh. He wanted to prove his string of six consecutive all-star seasons was the norm and the past two years the exception.
More important, he's been walking the walk, Abunassar says.
O'Neal has spent nearly two months focusing primarily on basketball-specific fitness training with just a dusting of skill work thrown in. His fitness and health have continued to improved, and he's now up to 45 minutes of basketball work following nearly two hours of therapy and training.
His four- to five-hour days will get longer later this month as he begins to scrimmage against other NBA players later this month.
"Most NBA players don't start coming in until June or July," Abunassar said. "But Jermaine was here in May. He was very determined to get into elite shape, and we set up a four-month plan to get there and we're way ahead of schedule.
"I've been doing this for 10 years and he's as good a guy as I've had in terms of focusing on the plan and doing what it takes to get ready. If he keeps going at this pace, he's going to have a tremendous summer and be able to roll right into training camp. He'll be ready."