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

Aug 4, 2010, 10:22 AM EDT

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. joe - Aug 4, 2010 at 6:17 PM

    Bill Walton Did play in LA, but with the Clippers, not the Lakers.

  2. Nostradamus - Aug 4, 2010 at 6:42 PM

    Don’t you all see? Shaq is secretly working for L.A. to ensure that Boston doesn’t even get to the championships.

  3. SLee - Aug 4, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    Walton was never a Laker. He was a Clipper. Get your facts correct

  4. SLee - Aug 4, 2010 at 7:57 PM

    this is a direct response to Kobe’s comment after winning his 5th NBA Championship. He said one more than Shaq. This is Shaq’s way to get even. Even Benedict Arnold was willing to trade sides for his ego and now Shaq’s way to ease his ego.

  5. robster - Aug 4, 2010 at 10:05 PM

    The Big Shillelagh!

  6. GUnit - Aug 5, 2010 at 9:06 AM

    Exactly SLee, I’ts all about his ego. Shaq has burned every bridge with just about every team. He trashed Phil Jackson, Pat Riley. Are u serious??? I’ts never his fault. He will do anything to be the center of attention (i.e. the recent Earnhardt vs Shaq race). Biggest mouth in the NBA.
    Yes, he was a great player and big part of the Lakers Championship, yet years later he kept talking trash about Kobe. Kobe (the younger one) handled it more like a pro. Funny huh…
    Now, he wants to catch up with Kobe’s rings. That’s the mere reality. Even if the Celtics win it all, you won’t be a factor Shaq. You are just now an insurance player. So let go ot the Kobe show.
    Oh, and let me guess, in a few years you will be trashing the Celtics coach and management!

  7. Bill-Sonora - Aug 5, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    Shaquille won 3 rings as a LAKER.
    Shaquille will got to the Hall of Fame as a LAKER.
    And THATS why its pathetic that hes going to the Celtics.
    Didnt realize I had to explain the obvious.

  8. Bill-Sonora - Aug 5, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    and YES, he DID WALK AWAY.
    That offseason the Laker GM stated that Kobe Bryant was their top priority (to re-sign) and Shaq didnt like that comment and after hearing it, he said exactly the following:
    “I want to be traded.”
    Thats exactly how it went down. I remember it like it was yesterday.
    His ego was too big with his constant “This is my team” comments.
    Anyone who says that now is considered selfish and well that was his constant saying.
    He left because of pride and his big ego. Thats it.
    Too bad.

  9. Bill-Sonora - Aug 5, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    Dont forget, what if Bynum wasnt injured in the 2008 Finals?
    The Lakers never conjure up excuses like “Well, we have never lost in the playoffs with all our starters.”
    What a cry baby excuse!

  10. BIll-Sonora - Aug 6, 2010 at 2:18 AM

    The LAKERS won Game 7 because of DEFENSE you idiot.

  11. elizabeth Jones - Aug 9, 2010 at 2:41 PM

    I lv Shaq..!! , He has won four NBA Championship titles and was named as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history, its awesome..By the way I found a website that give you prizes for your opinions and 4 play games here is the topic about Shaq:

  12. Mr Salt - Aug 10, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    Stop the hate! Nice name “:whitey” you’re a fraud!! Besides you dont pay hush money to white girls it’s called settlements,ask tiger and kobe. But you wouldnt know that would you, at least we know your girl/wife is safe from any and everyone with a choice!

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