Wednesday, August 4, 2010
ESPN: Shaq to Join Boston Celtics
Shaquille O'Neal has made a "decision" of his own: he will be taking his talents to Massachusetts.
ESPN is reporting that Shaq will be joining the Celtics.
Shaq and the Celtics reportedly have come to terms on a contract for the veteran's minimum, which is approximately worth $1.4 million. While ESPN stops short of confirming a contract length, RealGM reports the pact is for one year.
The deal comes during a summer in which O'Neal, whose play has been declining the last couple of seasons, could only watch as the spotlight evaded him in favor of a new generation of stars.
Originally said to be seeking a salary closer to the midlevel exception, around $4-$5 million annually, the market for Shaq did not develop.
The Hawks, Shaq's only other presumed major suitor, likely could have offered him a larger role than the Celtics. However, the Celtics's championship potential seemingly won him over.
His role on the team, however, is vastly undefined at this point. Boston's starting center, Kendrick Perkins, will miss the first few months of the season due to injury.
However, the Celtics signed big man Jermaine O'Neal to a more lucrative and longer deal earlier this summer.
Although ESPN's Chris Broussard references JO's deal as evidence that he will be ahead of Shaq on Boston's depth chart, do not be so sure. The two put up nearly identical numbers across the board last season, with JO having the narrow edge in points per game, while averaging five more minutes per game than Shaq.
While Shaq's larger than life persona (and gritty attitude) may actually give him an extra push on the court throughout the season, there is no doubt that this move was made to better ready the Celtics for those intense May and June match ups with Eastern Conference powerhouses.
Broussard even went as far as saying O'Neal may be used more as a "specialist", often entering the Celtics' lineup to face the Dwight Howard-types of the league.
Besides the Celtics and Hawks, the Knicks were said to have a short-lived interest in Shaq this summer.
But then again, who (with a high profile like Shaq's) weren't the Knicks interested in this summer?