|08.04.10 at 10:09 am ET|
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to discuss the Celtics‘ impending signing of Shaquille O’Neal. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Mannix said it’s a one-year deal for the veteran minimum ‘ approximately $1.4 million ‘ with a second-year player option. “This was not an easy decision for either side,” Mannix said, adding, “Shaq is obviously taking a monster pay cut. … It’s a huge, huge pay cut for this guy to play for this team and to accept a reserve role, coming off the bench.
“And for the Celtics, I can tell you this much, it was not a unanimous decision. This is not something that the entire front office and coaching staff entirely agreed upon. But it is a Danny Ainge type of move. He’s taken risks like this in the past, whether it’s Gary Payton or Stephon Marbury or Nate Robinson this past year. He’s taken chances on guys he thinks can help put them over the top. Danny obviously is convinced that Shaq is what this team needs right now.”
Asked if it was Shaq’s off-court distractions or on-court issues that made the Celtics hesitate, Mannix said: “It’s a little bit of a blend of both, but I think you’d have to start with the on-the-court problems. He is the worst pick-and-roll defender of all-time. He really is. He’s just a horrible, horrible guy when you’re coming off blitzing those screens. And Kendrick Perkins was one of the better pick-and-roll defenders on this Celtics team. This whole defense that Tom Thibodeau put together, and Kevin Garnett glued together, was based on effective pick-and-roll defense.
“It’s going to be incumbent now on Doc Rivers, and to a certain degree Lawrence Frank, who is essentially taking over that Tom Thibodeau role, to redesign the defense. They’re going to have to come up with something almost entirely new when Shaq’s on the floor. Because think about it: The two teams standing in Boston’s path are really Orlando and Miami, and those teams are going to run pick and roll all day long.”
Mannix also noted how Shaq often was in the way of Steve Nash when they were teammates in Phoenix. “Rajon Rondo is going to have similar problems,” Mannix said. “Shaq is not a guy who is even remotely comfortable playing anywhere but six or seven feet away from the basket. So, that’s going to be a challenge for Doc Rivers and his coaching staff to figure that out as well.”
All that said, Mannix said he thinks the signing is a good one for the Celtics. “He instantly becomes the best rebounder you have out there,” Mannix said. “And I’m not worried about him bogging down the fast break. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Kendrick Perkins wasn’t exactly Brad Daugherty running the floor out there for the Celtics. I just think overall, he’s a solid fit.”
Added Mannix: “While I understand the risks ‘ and I think it’s a huge risk to a certain degree ‘ you’re not going to get by Miami, you’re not going to get by Orlando unless you make an upgrade. And Shaq, to me, was the best available upgrade out there.”
Asked about controversial guard Delonte West, Mannix said it makes sense for the Celtics to bring him in. West was waived by the Timberwolves this week following a trade from Cleveland. “I think they should [sign him],” Mannix said. “Delonte obviously is familiar with the system, familiar with Boston, familiar with some of the pieces that are in place there. And he’s a proven combo guard. Obviously, the personal problems he’s had off the floor have been well-documented. … But again, you’re talking about adding guys for the minimum salary. If Delonte doesn’t work out ‘ and I guess to a certain degree if Shaq doesn’t work out ‘ you can just waive these guys.”
|08.04.10 at 9:58 am ET|
According to multiple reports, Shaquille O’Neal will sign a two-year deal with the Celtics. He will make the veteran’s minimum of $1.4 million next season. By comparison, O’Neal made $20 million last season as a member of the Cavaliers. Rumors have been swirled that O’Neal was in discussions with the Celtics, but no details about a contract had emerged, other than O’Neal telling Jimmy Kimmel that he wanted to play for two more years in the NBA. The Celtics were limited to offering the veteran’s minimum unless they orchestrated a sign-and-trade with Cleveland.
|08.03.10 at 10:17 pm ET|
After attempting to get back in the NBA with the Lakers Summer League squad, Gerald Green is returning to Russia next season to play for BC Krasnye Krylia, the Hoops Market reported from the team’s official website. He played for BC Lokomotiv last season.
WEEI.com recently caught up with Green at the Las Vegas Summer League where he reflected on missed opportunities in the NBA and admitted he was humbled by his first international experience. He also believed he could still compete in the league and was determined to prove it.
‘Me going overseas, that right there was the worst I think I ever felt. I never would have thought that I ever would have been overseas,’ the 24-year-old said. ‘But going to Russia has humbled me and made me become a man, instead of a little boy that I used to be. ‘¦ I think I’ve actually grown up from it, and I think that’s what I needed. I needed to grow up.’
Green had hoped to stick with a team this summer but said that he would play again in Russia if that’s what it took to eventually return to the NBA. He last played in the NBA during the 2008-09 as a member of the Rockets.
Green was drafted by the Celtics with the 18th pick in the 2005 draft.
|08.03.10 at 7:27 pm ET|
The NBA unveiled the schedule for their three marquee dates and all of them feature the Celtics.
The Celtics will open the NBA season with a home game against the Miami Heat on October 26 at 7:30 p.m. on TNT in a game that will be hyped as the New Big Three vs. The Old Big Three. Beyond that, the Celtics will get the first crack at what should be their toughest challenge in defending their Eastern Conference crown.
The second half of the opening night doubleheader will have the Rockets playing the Lakers in Los Angeles.
Like last season, the Celtics will be in Orlando on Christmas Day at 2:30 p.m. for a rematch of last season’s conference championship series. The Heat and Lakers will occupy the prime Christmas Day spot at 5 p.m.
The Magic will be in Boston on Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 17 with an 8 p.m. game at the Garden.
NBA.com has a full list of the opening week, Christmas and MLK games.
|08.03.10 at 4:43 pm ET|
It’s a move that has been gathering momentum in recent days. Shaq went on Jimmy Kimmel Monday night and suggested that he and the Celtics would make a good match.
Unless the Celtics can work out a sign-and-trade with the Cavaliers, O’Neal would have to agree to sign for the veteran minimum of $1.4 million. Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Brian Windhorst indicated on Twitter that the two teams were not in sign-and-trade talks. If that’s the case then credit the Celtics for waiting him out while his price drops.
O’Neal has maintained that he wants to sign with a contender, but considering that Orlando, Miami and the Lakers were never real possibilities that left Shaq looking at the Celtics, Spurs and Hawks as viable destinations and both San Antonio and particularly Atlanta have cooled on the idea.
Even at age 38, Shaq would give the Celtics insurance while Kendrick Perkins rehabs from knee surgery. In a recent interview with Dime Magazine, Perkins said that doctors told him that he was ahead of schedule and was looking at a mid-February return. If Perkins is able to come back by then, he would still miss more than half the season and need to work his way back into playing shape.
The Celtics added Jermaine O’Neal for the full mid-level exception and without Perkins the center depth is O’Neal and untested rookie Semih Erden. Getting Shaq, even at age 38, would be a huge upgrade at the spot.
Since the 2004-05 season, Shaq has played more than 2,000 minutes just once (in 2008-09 with Phoenix) and he missed 29 games with the Cavaliers last season. But he can still score (12 points in less than 24 minutes a game) and his rebounding-rate numbers have held steady. He would also give the Celtics their best low-post scoring option by far.
Where he struggles is with pick and roll defense, but he can still hold his ground in the low post and the Celtics would be better-equipped to scheme around his deficiencies than most teams.
There’s also the notion of Shaq’s outsized personality. He had issues with the Celtics three biggest rivals — Miami, Orlando and Los Angeles, which would only add to the hype surrounding those matchups. Over the years, however, the Celtics have not shied away from adding outspoken veterans; Sam Cassell, Stephon Marbury and Rasheed Wallace to name three.
The free agent market has been picked clean at this point and so have opportunities for joining the true contenders. Shaq and the Celtics may just be a match whose time has come.
|08.03.10 at 4:24 pm ET|
The Celtics are close to adding perhaps the biggest man left on the free agent market: Shaquille O’Neal, according to a tweet by CSNNE.com’s A. Sherrod Blakely. NBA.com’s David Aldridge confirmed the story with a similar tweet. With Kendrick Perkins expected to miss a chunk of the upcoming regular season, the Celtics had been looking to add another big man to their roster, and if the report is true, they may have found just that in O’Neal, who had said that he would welcome a move to Boston on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show Monday night. O’Neal averaged 12.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per game with the Cavaliers last season and certainly has the championship pedigree (he’s won four championships between the Lakers and the Heat) the C’s are looking for as they try to make another push for their 18th banner.
|08.03.10 at 1:57 pm ET|
The Celtics made it official, signing Von Wafer for the 2010-11 season. Terms were not announced, but it is believed to be for one season for the veteran minimum. (Here’s a more in-depth look at Wafer).
Wafer gives the Celtics 13 players under contract with second round pick Luke Harangody expected to be the 14th player once he reaches agreement on a contract.
The current Celtics roster is as follows:
SG: Ray Allen, Von Wafer
Non-guaranteed: Oliver Lafayette, Tony Gaffney
Second round pick: Luke Harangody
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