Boston’s frontline was exposed against the long, tall Lakers in the playoffs, especially when Perkins went down in game 6. With Rasheed having to start, they used their only legit length and had no one of size to fill in off the bench. If all goes well, in terms of health and playoff success, the same situation won’t be happening again in June 2011.
The Boston Celtics have announced the signing of….Lord have mercy… Shaquille O’Neal to a 2 year veteran minimum contract that starts at $1.39 million next year and has an option for year 2. Can I get a witness!
That gives them a hulking 7’ 1” 325 lb (listed) giant center by the name of Shaquille O’Neal to play behind a long, tall 6’ 11” Jermaine O’Neal and a solid 6’ 10” Kendrick Perkins when he recovers from knee surgery.
Where’s the beef?
It is right here in the midst of the Celtics. On top of that, can you imagine Shaq and Glen Davis on the floor at the same time? To paraphrase a Fleetwood Mac song…thunder only happens when they’re running.
If Kobe Bryant was coming up short on motivation for three straight NBA titles, his dreams have been answered. Kobe and Shaq have been at odds for a long while, it led to their break up, and never died.
Coincidentally, whoever takes up position number 15 on the Celtics roster is an important player. It could be the one that decides who guards Kobe when Paul Pierce or Ray Allen are on the bench. And that position remains open as I write this.
While Delonte West or Rudy Fernandez are the most public targets in Celtic rumors, Marc Spears recently tweeted that Larry Hughes is drawing interest from Boston and Charlotte.
Celtics still need a swingman behind Pierce and Allen.Could it be Larry Hughes? Word is Cs and CHA interested. Hughes looking good in workouts.
Any of the three are talented players, but 6’ 3” West most likely doesn’t guard Kobe, 6’ 6” Fernandez is tall enough but hasn’t demonstrated that he can stay with Bryant and 6’ 5” Larry Hughes is quick enough and tall enough to give Kobe trouble in short minutes.
Hughes has had issues at a number of stops along the way and has clearly thought more of his skills and game than the coaches he has played (or not played) for. Danny is absolutely fearless in regards to Doc Rivers when seeking talent that brings a level of difficulty to the locker room.
It is a long season and much can happen. There are also 2 other teams in the east that would like to derail any further Celtic title runs and might have something to say about it.
Needless to say, the Celtics picked up another city’s entire fan base even before this signing. The jilted Cavalier fans would like nothing more than the Celtics breaking LeBron’s heart yet again. Adding Shaq in Green will only get the Cav fans’ juices flowing to a higher level.
Shaq posted this comment after the signing was officially announced…
“I am honored to be joining the Celtics,” said O’Neal. “I have played against Paul, Ray, Kevin, Rajon, and Jermaine for many years and it will be great to be able to call them my teammates. I cannot wait to get to Boston to get started in pursuit of another championship.”
Rajon Rondo called Shaq ‘an enforcer’ in an article yesterday by Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports and added…
“I’m excited and looking forward to playing with the big fella,” Rondo said. “He’s definitely an enforcer. He gives us a post presence. He’s one of the best to do it. We’re a lot better.
With mixed feelings among Celtic management mentioned earlier by Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, Shaq will take some thinking as to how to best fit him in to the Celtics’ plans at both ends of the floor. But fit him in they will.
The biggest surprise is that Shaq, who has earned a gargantuan $290 million dollars to date just in basketball salary and was making $20 million one year ago, was willing to take a humbling $1.4 million and a bench role in limited minutes to play with the Celtics.
You could say that he has earned enough, and that is true. He could have retired for that piddling amount. So it says that he has the Brett Favre disease without the Favre body. Or it says that he so relishes trying to get another title that his ego has accepted the facts of what teams will pay a 38 year old Hall of Fame center with a game in serious decline.
It is a low risk financially for Danny Ainge. It can be a higher locker room and chemistry risk. The other thing to worry about if Shaq doesn’t work out is who they could have gotten instead. And it is hard to make a case that anyone out there would be, hands down, a better signing, even the younger Kwame Brown, Johan Petro, or some other back up center. Now if Portland’s Joel Pryzbilla heals and plays well, that would actually be someone to consider, though nothing coming out of Portland says JP is available.
So Shaq is the final answer at center. The question is ‘Will he be a Finals answer?’