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Celtics "close" to signing Shaquille O'Neal

Aug 3, 2010, 4:39 PM EDT

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If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. According to A. Sherrod Blakely of Comcast SportsNet, the Celtics are “close” to signing free agent center Shaquille O’Neal to a contract.

Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says the Cavs have not been talking to the Celtics about a sign-and-trade, so this deal is very likely to be for the veteran minimum of $1.4 million.

Yes, Shaq is old. Yes, Shaq is still ring-chasing. Yes, Shaq will be a big personality/ego on a team whose locker-room dynamics are fairly well-established. And yes, the Celtics made Shaq look as old and out-of-place as he ever has during least season’s Eastern Conference Semifinals. This was not a risk-free signing for the Celtics by any stretch of the imagination. 
Even with all of that, this move could have some benefits for the Celtics. The Celtics need a big body because of Kendrick Perkins’ injury, and Shaq certainly provides that. If the Celtics meet the Lakers or the Magic in the playoffs, they will now have two players capable of guarding Bynum and Howard one-on-one. With Kevin Garnett’s dead-eye mid-range shooting in the starting lineup, the Celtics have much better front-line personnel to compliment Shaq than the Cavaliers did. Shaq is a smart enough player and a good enough passer to work with Rondo and the “Big Three” effectively. 
Also, remember that Shaq had a very strong two months before he broke his thumb in a regular-season game against the Celtics, and was signed to help the Cavaliers match up with the Magic. Just like the Jermaine O’Neal signing, one reason this move looks bad for the Celtics is that the Celtics themselves played an instrumental role in lowering Shaq’s value. Shaq couldn’t match up with the Celtics in last year’s playoffs, but that won’t be a problem for him next season. 
The real question is whether Shaq will accept his role as a situational player on the Celtics. Will he move to the bench after Kendrick Perkins’ rehab on his knee is complete? Will he accept the fact that both Jermaine O’Neal and Perkins will be better options than him against some teams? Can he accept that the Celtics’ locker room is run by Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen? If anyone can manage these problems, it’s Doc Rivers, but it should still be a concern for Boston fans. 
Shaq can be a very good role player, and he may be joining a team that can use a very good role player. If Shaq can accept his limitations, this could be the shot in the arm the Celtics needed to be championship competitors this season. If not, the last ride of the “Big Three” could turn ugly. 
  1. pavmcgee - Aug 3, 2010 at 8:45 PM

    Will the C’s be able to keep Sheed if he decides not to retire after signing Shaq?

  2. Phil - Aug 3, 2010 at 8:49 PM

    I wonder who the “sources” are. More rumors from Shaq’s camp trying to raise his value.

  3. Kirk - Aug 3, 2010 at 8:49 PM

    What the Hell are you talking about ?

  4. guyjery - Aug 3, 2010 at 8:57 PM

    great value for the celtics; if they had him against against L.A they would have won the series. Give the celts twenty minutes a game and they beat anyone. fantastic

  5. Mr. T1 - Aug 3, 2010 at 9:52 PM

    Shaq would be a good signing for the Celtics. However, the Lakers improved this summer, and if Bynum stays healthy, they have too much firepower. Sorry Boston….LA ties you for championships in 2011.

  6. Dave - Aug 3, 2010 at 9:58 PM

    I think it’s time for Shaq to enjoy the money he’s made and call it quits. I see no advantage to Boston to bring him on. Older, slower, can’t keep up with the young kids, etc. He’s had great years,…time to take a long rest and enjoy his family for a change.

  7. E.H. - Aug 4, 2010 at 12:03 AM

    I’m not a ‘real’ Celtcs’ fan since Larry Bird has retired. But I still like this team so much. Everybody has the rights to choose his new path after his contract terminated. Before Shaq signed to Lakers when he became a free player years ago, he always said that he would still stay in Orlando to keep Magic fans’ hopes alive. Actually, he already signed with Lakers at the time under the table. The consequance is he hurted Magic fans twice. I would not admire a person like him. If Shaq signed with Celitcs, I almost for sure to leave this gray seat in Celtics fans’ zone.
    For the same token, I will not be a Miami Heat fan because I don’t like a person who dumps his ‘long-term girlfriend’ in front of million people and breaks one of four Cleveland families’ hearts so badly at the same seconds (although I am not Cavaliers fan)! Mr. Lebron James has fully rights to choose his future but can’t he choose another way to keep Cleveland people’s respect?

  8. yarlmak - Aug 4, 2010 at 12:39 AM

    wake up dude. if perk started game 7 we got banner 18. perk is a championship center in the nba. case closed.

  9. BallerIQ - Aug 4, 2010 at 4:03 AM

    I agree with yarlmak, the C’s were already struggling with the length from Gasol and a barely functioning Bynum.
    But if this deal does go through, i think it would be an awesome move, not only does Shaq still command atention on ofense, but he still can be a lane filler and could add also shot blocking. (if he’s not overplayed) Perfect for smash mouth teams and playoff style ball, if the opposing team has a big with range, Jermaine or Perk could come in and play. Though this all depends on Shaq’s pride, cause at this point in his career, he’s running out of gas.

  10. WOWIMSHOCKED - Aug 4, 2010 at 10:48 AM

    it always amazes me how celtic fans or anyone always adds the “what if” look im not 100% convinced that if perkins was healthy the celtics would have won, even with perkins playing it wasnt the inside game that won games 2, 4 and 5 it was thier outside game, and remember if not for the officiating i seriously doubt the celtics would have won games 4 or 5. but lets just add “if” bynum was healthy (remember he played with a dammged knee)lakers wuld have probably been hoisting the 16th banner after 5 games…LOL so keep your what if’s and stick to the real world

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