I guess we can say the Boston Celtics are going all in and embracing their role as the old-timers of the NBA. This afternoon, A. Sherrod Blakely of Comcast SportsNet New England tweeted that Boston is extremely close to signing Shaquille O’Neal. While it hasn’t been confirmed yet, the speculation about matching the Big Aristotle with the Big Green was growing daily.
Just last night, O’Neal said on Jimmy Kimmel Live that he thought highly of the Celtics. With his options running out – Atlanta wasn’t interested, Cleveland didn’t want him back and the Spurs didn’t want to get any older – there were reports about O’Neal considering big-money offers from Europe. More than likely, that was just a futile attempt to drive up his NBA value.
Now for most likely the veteran’s minimum, he joins a group of Celtics who seem to be stuck in Never Never Land. While some wanted to see Boston get younger this offseason, they retained their current roster while adding 32-year old Jermaine O’Neal and now the 38-year old Shaq.
Say what you want about Shaq, but last year he averaged 12.0 points and 6.7 rebounds a game. He could help this team on the court, especially against the Lakers. But, it is still to be determined how his presence affects the locker room – there is no clear alpha dog, no one Shaq will undoubtedly defer to – and also how minutes will be dealt once Boston’s frontline gets fully healthy.
Shaq gladly played a secondary role to LeBron James. That was an obvious move. But the last time he was on a team that lacked a single, commanding presence, O’Neal and Phoenix struggled to adjust to each other. With a solid core of veteran personalities, it will be interesting to see how Shaq fits in.
What do you think?
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