Aug 16, 2010, 8:58 AM EDT
Shaquille 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.
- Spurs reset franchise for post Tim Duncan life in one impressive week 5
- Report: Lakers ‘actively discussing’ trade for Roy Hibbert with Pacers 32
- LaMarcus Aldridge has chosen to sign with Spurs 81
- Who should Clippers get to replace DeAndre Jordan? How about Blake Griffin. 42
- Report: Tobias Harris reaches four-year, $64 million extension to stay with Orlando 25
- Report: Rajon Rondo agrees to one-year, $9.5 million deal with Sacramento Kings 48
- Report: DeAndre Jordan agrees to four-year, $80 million deal to join Dallas Mavericks 57
- Report: Kings signing Marco Belinelli to three-year, $19 million contract 19