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An older, more mature, Von Wafer

08.10.10 at 2:30 pm ET
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For many the enduring image of Von Wafer in an NBA uniform is when Rockets coach Rick Adelman sent him back to the locker room during a playoff game. Wafer apologized the next day, but the damage had been done.

The Rockets didn’t renew his contract, even after a breakout year in which he averaged almost 10 points a game, and he spent a year in exile.

“I just acted out at the wrong time,” Wafer said. “I love Coach Adelman. He’€™s the first coach who gave me an opportunity to play. I never talked back to him. I just acted out at the wrong moment. It cost me. It cost me a lot. That just can’€™t happen.”

Wafer signed with a team in Greece, but he bought his way out of his contract and his attempts to return to the NBA were thwarted when it was reported that he failed physicals in Memphis and Houston. The Mavericks eventually did sign him to a 10-day contract but he never saw action.

Wafer said that he’s fine physically and that mentally he’s a much stronger player. He knows he has a lot to prove this season.

“I didn’€™t want to go out that way,” he said. “A lot of bad things were said about me. That’€™s why I’€™m here early trying to get ready. This is a big year for me. I can’€™t go out like that. I’€™ve got too much pride. I’€™m more mature now. I know how this business works. You work hard, keep your mouth shut and stay out of trouble and you’€™re going to be blessed and fortunate.”

The biggest knock on Wafer is his defense, which he also acknowledged. “Not good,” he said. “I’€™ve heard bad things about my defense. I think I’€™m an okay defender. The name of the game is putting more points up on the board than the other team.”

Wafer will find out soon enough that okay doesn’t cut it defensively with the Celtics, but he is more prepared for the challenge.

“I had a lot of ups and downs, mostly downs, but it made me stronger,” Wafer said. “I actually became a better basketball player last year. Most people might not believe it, but mentally, I’€™m definitely better. Physically, that will come, but the mental, I needed that.”

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Video: Shaq’s introduction to Boston

08.10.10 at 2:23 pm ET
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Sporting a bow tie and a gray pinstripe suit, Shaquille O’€™Neal sat beside Celtics coach Doc Rivers for his introductory press conference on Wednesday. As forward and new teammate Kevin Garnett and Luke Harangody overlooked the event from a higher level at the Celtics’€™ practice facility, the center fielded questions and held up his No. 36 jersey as he became the first player in franchise history to wear the number. Check out some video highlights from the press conference below:

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Slide Show: Shaquille O’Neal Press Conference

08.10.10 at 2:09 pm ET
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WALTHAM — WEEI.com’s traditional slideshow format has been hijacked by the Big Diesel, and as such, we give you the Shaq Show. The 38-year-old center was introduced to Boston and the media on Tuesday, and everything from Shaq’s bow-tie to his excitement as he held up his No. 36 was certainly something worth checking out again. All photos are courtesy of WEEI.com photographer John Vu. Click on the image below to begin the slideshow.

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Ainge: Sheed will be resolved soon

08.10.10 at 2:06 pm ET
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One question that has continued to hover around the Celtics this offseason, is what will they do with Rasheed Wallace? The veteran has two years left on his contract, but he indicated through his agent and to the team that he will retire.

The Celtics have tried to trade his contract this summer but have not found the right deal. Danny Ainge said the situation will be resolved soon. “We have looked at trade possibilities throughout the summer,” Ainge said. “We’ll continue to do that. I would say it will all be resolved soon and you guys will all hear how we’ve resolved it shortly.”

At this point it seems unlikely that they will find a trade partner for Wallace and will try to work out a buyout agreement for the final two years of his deal. If the Celtics are able to settle with Wallace that would clear a roster spot.

“One more piece is possible,” Ainge said. “But I like the team we have at this stage. There are different scenarios but I would say the most likely scenario [to signing another player] is the veteran minimum.”

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Shaq on Harangody: ‘Who’s that?’

08.10.10 at 1:47 pm ET
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WALTHAM ‘€” The Celtics announced Tuesday that the team has agreed to a two-year contract with second-round pick Luke Harangody. However, the newest member of the team, Shaquille O’Neal, apparently wasn’t listening. When Celtics vice president of media relations Jeff Twiss announced that Harangody would be available for questions from the media, Shaq turned to Doc Rivers and asked, “Who’s that?” Check out the video.

The Notre Dame alum met briefly with the media following Shaq’s press conference.

“It’s a great feeling to have a little job security, especially guaranteed,” Harangody said. “It helps me sleep easier at night. And to sign the contract is also a great feeling as well.”

The 52nd pick of the 2010 draft, Harangody joins a star-filled front court in Boston. However, the prospect of playing with Shaq does not intimidate the former All-Big East player.

“The first couple of times seeing Shaq today, you are a little in awe, a little starstruck,” Harangody said of the three-time NBA Finals MVP. “At the same time, you just have to come to the gym every day. We’re teammates now, no matter who is on the court.”

There were questions about Harangody’s shooting, which some feel led to a drop in the draft. He quickly impressed, though, with an outstanding showing at the Summer League in Orlando, leading the Celtics for the week with 16.8 points per game, while shooting 47.1 percent from the floor and 50.0 percent on 3-point attempts.

“I’ve been working in the gym all summer, working on the 3-point ball, the NBA 3-point ball,” Harangody said. “It’s a big deal. I just got comfortable out there, it showed in the the Summer League. It surprised a lot of people.”

As for his role with the Celtics in 2010, the soon-to-be rookie made no predictions.

“Wherever I fit in I fit in,” Harangody said.

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Video: Shaq press conference

08.10.10 at 1:31 pm ET
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Shaq on D&H: ‘It is all about winning’

08.10.10 at 12:34 pm ET
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Shaquille O’€™Neal joined the Dale & Holley show Tuesday following his press conference to discuss signing with the Celtics and how he is excited to join a franchise that he considers ‘€œrich in the tradition of winning.O’€™Neal explained that he and coach Doc Rivers met in Orlando, not in Italy. ‘€œActually it wasn’€™t Italy, he lives in a place that has Italy in it in, Orlando,’€ O’€™Neal said.

On meeting Doc Rivers in ‘€œItaly’€:

‘€œWe met and we had a conversation. He said, ‘Big guy, [what are] you going to do,’ and I said, ‘I want to play for a winner.’ He said, ‘Well, we’€™re winners,’ [and] I said, ‘Well, lets talk about it.’ So we talked about it. I had dinner with him and his lovely family and he said what he expected from me and I told him what I expected, I think it will be a good fit. I’€™ve been a winner my whole career [and] I wanted to play my last two years with a franchise that’€™s known for winning, a franchise that’€™s rich in the tradition of winning.’€

On LeBron James‘€™ ‘€œDecision’€:

‘€œI don’€™t really have an opinion on it. I just know that everyone is going to handle their situation different. Me and LeBron are friends, we grew real close last year and I just wish him well. I don’€™t have an opinion on that.’€

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