MIAMI (AP) -Jermaine O'Neal made no grand promises upon arriving in Miami, unlike the other guy with his surname.
His formal introduction to the Heat on Tuesday brought no championship assurances, no vows of greatness, no traffic-snarling street party for a few thousand of his newest fans.
In other words, it wasn't a reprise of Shaquille O'Neal's arrival.
But make no mistake: Miami's newest O'Neal still sees plenty of potential.
``It's almost a perfect fit, as far as the style of play and the things they like to do,'' Jermaine O'Neal said Tuesday, shortly after finishing his first practice with his new teammates and one day before his Heat debut, which comes Wednesday at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
``We have a really good chance to do something special,'' he added.
A six-time All-Star who's still only 30, the 6-foot-11 Jermaine O'Neal has averaged 14.3 points and 7.7 rebounds in his career, and could be in the starting lineup as soon as Wednesday, coach Erik Spoelstra said.
past six weeks, and when the opportunity finally came to make a trade last week, team president Pat Riley and owner Micky Arison jumped, sending Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks to the Raptors for O'Neal and Jamario Moon.
``Someone of Jermaine's skill set actually fits what we're trying to do well,'' Spoelstra said.
O'Neal once owned a home in South Florida, before selling a couple years ago, and has always been fond of Miami. In recent years, with Indiana and this season with Toronto, he was slowed by knee injuries, and has had surgery in the past.
But when asked if he's got enough for Miami's playoff drive, he didn't hesitate before answering, ``Absolutely.''
There have only been two players in NBA history with O'Neal on the back of their jerseys.
They sort of got traded for each other.
Shaquille O'Neal's era in Miami ended a little over a year ago when he got sent to Phoenix for Marion and Banks - who, of course, then were moved to Toronto for O'Neal and Moon, who could quickly emerge as the starting Heat small forward. The Heat also got a $4 million trade exception, one first-round pick and possibly a second-rounder; the Raptors got $3 million cash.
And what a difference a year makes: When the Shaq trade was made, Miami was at rock bottom, the worst team in the NBA.
f the playoffs.
``Everybody in here, in the locker room, is open to these guys coming in,'' said All-Star Dwyane Wade, the NBA's second-leading scorer at the midseason break. ``You can see the conscious effort of guys wanting to make it work. So the first day was good, and the only thing we can do is continue to move forward.''
The pieces will have to start fitting soon.
Of Miami's final 30 games, 17 are against likely postseason teams, and there's no time for a slide if the Heat want that coveted No. 4 seed for the first playoff round.
``It gives you added motivation to come in and play even harder,'' Jermaine O'Neal said. ``The type of team that they have, I was very, very excited about. Looking at the roster and actually getting out there today and practicing with those guys, it's even better in person. So I'm very, very excited about the opportunity and the things I can present and bring to the team.''
Jermaine O'Neal had been a thorn in Miami's side for several years.
He played against Miami 21 times since March 22, 2002; the Heat were 3-18 in those games, in large part because O'Neal averaged 19.2 points and 11 rebounds against them. And he scuffled with current Miami captain Udonis Haslem during a March 2006 game, a dustup that ended with Haslem being ejected.
nd you represent your team, things can get pretty intense. I'm going to fight for my teammates every time and he's going to fight for his. Now that we're on the same team, we'll probably be fighting for each other.''
Saying the past scuffles hadn't even entered his mind, O'Neal said he was thrilled to be Haslem's teammate.
``He's one of those players you hate to play against and love to play with,'' O'Neal said.
O'Neal will wear No. 7 in Miami, swapping jerseys with Marion. Moon - who donned 33 in Toronto, Alonzo Mourning's soon-to-be-retired Heat number - will wear No. 8.
The trade was in the works for weeks, and although Wade enjoyed playing with Marion, he's relieved the waiting is over.
``This is our team,'' Wade said.

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