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Shaq agrees to join Celtics, a smart gamble by both sides

Aug 4, 2010, 10:22 AM EST

Thumbnail image for shaq_o'neal.jpgIs it going to work? Maybe. Maybe not.

But it’s going to happen — Shaquille O’Neal has agreed to join the Boston Celtics according to CSN New England, ESPN’s Chris Brossard and a bunch of other sources now. This will be a one-year deal for the league minimum of $1.4 million.

Is it a good signing? Time will tell, but there are risks. Risks in terms of injuries, risks in terms of locker room chemistry, risks in terms of reputation. But risks both sides needed to take.

Shaq 2010 is not Shaq 2000. He cannot single handedly lead a team to a title (Kobe Bryant would like to point out that he couldn’t do that in 2000 either). His game is in decline, something evident the past few seasons, particularly in Cleveland last year. As Zach Lowe at Celtics Hub points out, the Cavaliers actually did better with him off the court than on it last season.

But Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal (who will start at center for Boston, at least until Kendrick Perkins returns) bring a new dimension to the Celtics — scoring from the five spot. It’s a reason Doc Rivers led the effort to get Shaq in green. Perkins was out there to defend and rebound, the other four guys on the floor had to provide the offense. Which worked very well in 2008. But last year the Celtics offense became heavily dependant on Rajon Rondo penetration to get points inside. Shaq, for all his flaws, is still able to score from the block.

Shaq is going to be a help through the All-Star break, although as Lowe points out who he plays with in the frontcourt off the bench will be interesting. Shaq and Big Baby Glen Davis may be the most obvious but it is an odd pairing. Remember, Davis was nicknamed “baby Shaq” at LSU (the college the two shared) because of a somewhat similar game. And look.

Davis and Shaq bring a lot of the same things to the floor, it’s hard to see them as a natural pairing. Kevin Garnett would be, but he will play more starters minutes and lineups.

How Shaq fits in on defense is another question. His defensive rotations are not great, and he can be exposed if forced to cover the high pick-and-roll. Boston has made its name on defense.

All that said, both sides really need each other. It’s a risk, but a risk worth taking.

Boston needed depth up front and some scoring from the five spot. Shaq may be able to give them that. Shaq needs to win again; he wants a chance at a ring for the thumb. Boston can give him that. Both are older, both need to stay healthy — or at least be healthy come playoff time — to have a chance.

If everything breaks right, it’s a gamble that could pay off. Could. But both sides needed to take the risk.

  1. Tony - Aug 4, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    He sucks. He can’t hit a freethrow to save his life. If he wasn’t 7’+ he’d never get anywhere near the basket.
    The Celtics were doing great without him.
    I think he’s just doing it because of what happened with Lebron… like he’s somehow going to have a showdown with the Miami/Boston rivalry.
    Either way, he still sucks at basketball.

  2. jaided - Aug 4, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    i like ur analogy. that was pretty funny stuff. a fat chick has a better shot at a bar then shaq helping a team win.

  3. RC - Aug 4, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    Okay everyone. Let’s get it right.
    Shaq was an Orlando Magic player that went to the Lakers and then went to the Heat and then went to the Suns and then went to the Cavs and now is going to the Celtics. So let’s not get too caught up in the ex-Laker to the Celtics talk. Besides, he didn’t exactly just walk away from the Lakers. Isnt’t that right, Mr. Bryant.
    Second, why are some people on here acting like Shaq is going to the Celtics to be “the man”? He is going there in a supporting role. He knows he can’t play 40 minutes a night for 82 games during the season. But he can prove to be a good back-up center off the bench. So when you do have injuries, you have a veteran that you can plug in to play major minutes on occasion. If Kendrick Perkins doesn’t go down in the finals, it may have been Boston celebrating their second championship in 3 years. Now the Celtics have an insurance policy. And who doesn’t need insurance?

  4. Paul - Aug 4, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    SHAQ will prove he is still a contender and Celtics will dominate. I have complete faith in Doc Rivers. We might even see Rasheed pull a “Farve” and come back as well!

  5. JohnnyB - Aug 4, 2010 at 1:48 PM

    The Double “O’s” in the middle in Beantown. And when Perk comes back it will be OOP’s in the middle. This could be a big deal. Especially when the playoffs roll around. If the C’s had OO a few months ago, they would have easily beaten the Lakers in the finals. I believe this will really help Garnett and Pierce the most. They came roam the perimeter more with double screens that will always leave one of them or Ray Allen WIDEEEEE Open. All three will be much less fatigued down the stretch. The real key is Jermaine O’Neal who can play inside or out. Plus he hits his free throws. Look for Shaq to be dominant in Q2 & Q3, with J.O. Going strong in Q1 & Q4. If/when Perk get back he will only fill-in as needed. More realistically, He won’t be back until 2012 if ever, from that injury. He was slow and a poor leaper before the injury. He could be really ugly afterwards. But I wish him a speedy & successful return. Bottom line is this. If the “C’s” can add one more shooter/perimeter defender (James Posey perhaps), they will be the team to beat. And not the Very talented Miami Heat. But if I was Boston or Miami, I sure wouldn’t wan to face the revamped Chicago Bulls in round 2 of the playoffs. That is an upset just waiting to happen.

  6. ulysses33 - Aug 4, 2010 at 1:52 PM

    Nick u need to stop listening to FOX News and Rush Limbaum.

  7. parquet wizard - Aug 4, 2010 at 1:52 PM

    How many of you remember “Bill Walton”. He was an ex-Laker became a “Celtic” who helped Boston beat the Lakers for a championship in the 80s. HA,HA, HA,. Even at the minimum, teams don’t sign those who can’t be of assistance. The powers that be know much more than you opposing fans. There are so many unforseen happenings that can and do happen that can help or hinder. For what the Celtic’s need and what was available, it is a good move.

  8. JohnnyB - Aug 4, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    The Double “O’s” in the middle in Beantown. And when Perk comes back it will be OOP’s in the middle. This could be a big deal. Especially when the playoffs roll around. If the C’s had OO a few months ago, they would have easily beaten the Lakers in the finals. I believe this will really help Garnett and Pierce the most. They came roam the perimeter more with double screens that will always leave one of them or Ray Allen WIDEEEEE Open. All three will be much less fatigued down the stretch. The real key is Jermaine O’Neal who can play inside or out. Plus he hits his free throws. Look for Shaq to be dominant in Q2 & Q3, with J.O. Going strong in Q1 & Q4. If/when Perk get back he will only fill-in as needed. More realistically, He won’t be back until 2012 if ever, from that injury. He was slow and a poor leaper before the injury. He could be really ugly afterwards. But I wish him a speedy & successful return. Bottom line is this. If the “C’s” can add one more shooter/perimeter defender (James Posey perhaps), they will be the team to beat. And not the Very talented Miami Heat. But if I was Boston or Miami, I sure wouldn’t wan to face the revamped Chicago Bulls in round 2 of the playoffs. That is an upset just waiting to happen.

  9. neutcolor - Aug 4, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    really? wherv u been?

  10. cowboyconservative1960 - Aug 4, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    Why in hell would we want ‘Sheed to come back?! With this acquisition, my beloved Celtics have completed my NBA Circle of Life: First, they bring in my newest favorite player, KG, and win a title. Now, they are bringing in my first favorite player (especially from his Magic days, hooking it up with Scottie Skiles)! All is right in the world. Look for lightning to strike again, folks!!

  11. jaided - Aug 4, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    i hate ppl who say what if…… what if perkins was healthy game 7. who cares, if perkins is that good and makes a difference theyre shouldnt have been a game 7 rt? also what if bynum wasnt injured the whole finals, their never is a game 7 rt? come on get real dont hate. lakers won and will win again.

  12. stiltman - Aug 4, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    Bill Walton was never an LA Laker. He won his first ring with the Blazers and scuttled around amidst foot injuries between 1977 and 1986 when he went to Boston.

  13. CELTICS FAN - Aug 4, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    TOTALLY AGREE – I WAS THINKING THE SAME THING – ANNOYING AND IGNORANT

  14. ballin - Aug 4, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    You have the grammar skills of Rainman or a fetal alcohol baby.

  15. cowboyconservative1960 - Aug 4, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    True dat!!

  16. Muchetti - Aug 4, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    Rapist fan did you say? As in rape, as in Kobe the rapist? The little punk should not even be playing right now. Should just be getting out of jail. If it were anyone else that would be the reality. But for the Diaper; AKA Kobe the rapist, he gets to confess to forcing the young lady into sex, as his public statement after the out-of-court-settlement said, and doesn’t spend a night in jail. The term “The Diaper” came after he lost to Boston and told the world he had laid a big one on his bed. Remember that comment? Anyway, as I said, the little punk should just be getting out of jail and not talking about still being able to play. Back in the Shac period I was a big fan of the Diaper. But after reading the police report, and how he ratted out his then good friend, Shac, well after that I could really see the little punk for who he was, a little punk, called the diaper. A winner on the court, both in sports and law, and a loser to the world, except for you Raper fans, who want to win at any cost.

  17. Muchetti - Aug 4, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    Rapist fan did you say? As in rape, as in Kobe the rapist? The little punk should not even be playing right now. Should just be getting out of jail. If it were anyone else that would be the reality. But for the Diaper; AKA Kobe the rapist, he gets to confess to forcing the young lady into sex, as his public statement after the out-of-court-settlement said, and doesn’t spend a night in jail. The term “The Diaper” came after he lost to Boston and told the world he had laid a big one on his bed. Remember that comment? Anyway, as I said, the little punk should just be getting out of jail and not talking about still being able to play. Back in the Shac period I was a big fan of the Diaper. But after reading the police report, and how he ratted out his then good friend, Shac, well after that I could really see the little punk for who he was, a little punk, called the diaper. A winner on the court, both in sports and law, and a loser to the world, except for you Raper fans, who want to win at any cost.

  18. Slimgoodie - Aug 4, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    Where did that come from?

  19. BostonFansRMorons - Aug 4, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    BILL Walton NEVER played for the Lakers, but thanks for showing us your total lack of NBA knowledge. Typical Celtics idiot bandwagon fan. NEXT!!!!!

  20. RockinRick - Aug 4, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Couldn’t agree more. Laker fans are arrogant, bandwagon, fair-weather fans. When they’re not winning championships, they are known as the most blase laid back fans in sports. They need to go to a real city like Portland, Indianapolis, etc. to see what real fans are. As for the Shaq signing, very interesting. They only lost by 4 points in game 7, this June, with the Lakers biggest advantage being reboundiing. Shaq would have negated that seemingly. Bugt remember the Lakers 21 fourth quarter free throws in that game? So perhaps the refs would still have done whatever necessary to deliver the Lakers that title, who knows?

  21. jaided - Aug 4, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    y when u are born and raised in lax, would wanna go to portland or indi, come on now u serious. define a real fan? whats a real fan to u? and the refs they gave all of bostons games in boston all the fouls look at all the stats rick. and if u put all the free throws thrown in the series boston had the advantage. stop hating on the lakers and give them props for winning.

  22. Dball - Aug 4, 2010 at 5:08 PM

    Just when I thought I could not hate The Keltix more than I already did … and then this happens. Ha! A match made in Hell.
    I can hear Shaq now “Everywhere I go, I bring a championship. Get your ring sized now. Make room for a banner. All I ever do is win trophies. Get on my back and enjoy the ride.”

  23. dball - Aug 4, 2010 at 5:11 PM

    Shaq in green??
    There can only be one new nickname for him: The Big Dick.

  24. alan - Aug 4, 2010 at 5:18 PM

    Id love to see Shaq come to camp, 30 pounds lighter. The guy hasnt been in shape for 10 years.

  25. Calilaker - Aug 4, 2010 at 6:04 PM

    Shaq is going to be their 2 leaf clover. It is now proven when he joins a team and promises a championship, it doesn’t happen. He just wants to go after Kobe and Dr. Buss. He will clog up and slow their game which is good for the Lakers. Shaq’s jersey will never be in the Staple Center rafters, but Kobe’s will. Lakers 4 3 peat and will beat the Heat!

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