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Doc Rivers gave Shaq a reality check before Boston signed him

Aug 16, 2010, 8:58 AM EDT

Thumbnail image for Shaq_Boston.jpgShaquille O’Neal was still on the market late in the free agent season in large part because of his demands.

He was asking for at least the mid-level exception. He wanted a key role on the team. Basically, he wanted to be treated like the Shaq of 2005.

Boston was interested in him, but not on those terms. So Shaq was summoned to Doc Rivers home in Florida for a “come to Jesus” meeting, according to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

He told O’Neal he may not start. He told O’Neal his skills had declined, so touches won’t be a priority. He told O’Neal he was a liability on pick-and-roll defense. O’Neal sat there with a blank expression, and Rivers thought there was no chance of a deal getting done. There was no way O’Neal would accept that type of criticism and accept a minimum salary as well.

He did. He signed. And that may turn out to be big for Boston because at this price Shaq is a bargain. He still can score at a fairly high percentage, he can still board, he is still a big body in the paint that can be used again teams like Orlando, Miami and Los Angeles.

But it’s a small role. Fortunately for Boston, there is nobody better at selling star players that they need to fit into roles than Rivers.

  1. Jimsjam33 - Aug 16, 2010 at 9:53 AM

    Please ! Shaq could’ve come to this story board months ago and heard the same advice from numerous fans . Why give Rivers the credit when we’ve been saying the same thing for months ?
    The smart exec’s like Jerry West and Mitch Kupchak have been reading this blog for years . How do you think the Kobe Byrant and Pau Gasol deals became reality ? That’s right , they listed to the fans and got it right .

  2. lifetimelakerfan - Aug 16, 2010 at 10:34 AM

    Oh good grief. Jerry West and Mitch Kupchak care more about what they and their scouts think. Laker fans weren’t begging for Kobe to be drafted. Did this blog even exist back then? The Memphis fans weren’t pleading to deal Pau to the Lakers. The Rivers-Shaq chat is just filler because Shaq has heard these same things from many other coaches/GMs like Jackson, Riley, West and finally was desperate enough to ink a deal with a playoff team still willing to take his lazy act. BTW, If the Diesel would have worked as hard in his career as Kobe, MJ or even Rodman, and stayed healthy, he would have been a modern day combination of Russell and Wilt. He wouldn’t have been begging for the mid-level exemption now.

  3. yoyoboy - Aug 16, 2010 at 10:42 AM

    if Big man PERK would have not been injured, Los Angeles would have been Finals losers, and are the ones begging for shaq, since bynum was a total bust in the NBA Finals. *Yawn* just a piece of my 2 cent…………..

  4. dreamon - Aug 16, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    yoyoboy has been playing with his yoyo to long and drank the green colored kool-aid. Perkins went down, Lakers still would of won!

  5. RastusM - Aug 16, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    Hey, yoyodweeb…if’s and but’s are candy and nuts oh what a christmas you would have. While Bynum has been somewhat disappointing, the injuries in the FINALS all evened out and Boston ran out of gas in game seven…the Lakers are NBA Champions 2009-2010 season…time to move on.

  6. Stryker - Aug 16, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    Not only that, Lakers will three-peat… at the expense of the Celtics again.
    Heat what?

  7. Waldo - Aug 16, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    Good thing almost only counts in horseshoes. The better team won and even if ‘perk’ was healthy, the Lakers would have found a way to utilize his techical foul issue.

  8. sidewaze - Aug 16, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    this board doesn’t say much for the literacy or of b ball fans. Methinks you people need to exist more often in the real world, oh…and stay in school. You won’t write like the brainless bozos you present yourselves as.

  9. Celts Fan - Aug 16, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    Talk ll the smack you want, get SHAQ and the price Boston did is a great move….and Doc had a hand in it.

  10. Jack - Aug 16, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    The Lakers barely beat a celtics team that wasnt even clicking on all cylinders. Old men at that. The Lakers barely beat a young OKC team full of youngsters with no playoff experience. I dont see nothing to brag about. They didnt win because they played good. The Lakers not three peating. They have bigger problems than the Celtics this year trust me.

  11. RastusM - Aug 16, 2010 at 3:07 PM

    “Sidewaze”… are a goof…your posting is just dripping with intellectual prowess. Maybe we can get the Lakers and Celtics together for a spelling contest next year!

  12. DOWNTHELAKERS - Aug 16, 2010 at 3:39 PM


  13. true fan of the game - Aug 16, 2010 at 11:16 PM

    Even more evidence of Doc’s savvy and wisdom. He’s the glue that holds that team together and makes them the championship contenders that they are.
    Good work, Doc. Keep it up.

  14. terry - Aug 17, 2010 at 2:04 PM

    I am a Celts fan, I am also an old fart and I would usually put it in more explicit language but the lakers s…
    But the lakers DID win 4 out of 7 games in the recent finals
    That means that they are the (gulp) Champs
    The Celts’ signing Shaq was a good move. 2 years from now the Celts will be toast but in the meantime they’re gonna make one last charge at it and that’s what sells tickets.
    And Shaq has a good sense of humor

  15. Solomon Richardson - Aug 17, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    I think signing Shaq was brilliant. How could it not be? A washed up Shaq in reality is still the best and only true conventional center in the game. At 100 yrs old, there is no one on or off the court that can stop Shaq from tearing the rim down when that one shot is necessary to have. He is the best low post option in the game at 100. Several teams in retrospect will regret not signing Shaq. He would have made the game so so easy for Rose, Noah and Deng especially. With Boozer, that could have been the best forward and center combinations the game may have ever seen. You still have to double up and triple up on Shaq. And, it doesn’t matter which NBA team you are. If you don’t, he’ll eat well in the paint. If Shaq stays healthy, Boston will be champions next year. I am a Bull fan!@#!

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