Shaq-to-Boston reaction

May 07, 2010 - Boston, MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES - epa02148070 Cleveland Cavaliers center Shaquille O'Neal (C) dunks the ball in front of (L-R) Boston Celtics Kevin Garnett, Kendrick perkins and Paul Pierce in the third quarter of their Eastern Conference Semifinal round playoff game at the TD Bank Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 07 May 2010. The Cavaliers defeated the Celtics 124-95 to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Zach Lowe, Celtics Hub: Shaq can be an asset for a team that ranked just 15th in points per possession and struggled to produce looks at the rim when Rajon Rondo couldn’t penetrate. Rondo and Paul Pierce are the C’s only real threats to create offense at the basket. When they are on the bench or pushed slightly off their game, Boston’s offense is reduced to a series of off-the-ball screens and side screen/rolls—last-gasp sequences run on the defensive, after the best options have been closed off. Against good defenses, those kinds of possessions ended too often with long, contested jumpers. Watch Game 7 again, if you can stomach it. Shaq could provide some relief from that. I’m not saying he’s going to be out there beside the starters with 5:00 to go in the 4th quarter of a playoff game. But put him out there with, say, three bench players and Ray Allen? He adds a dimension that wasn’t there last season.

Chris Forsberg, ESPN.com: Although I’ll admit Boston fans can be amazingly fickle — just look at the backlash when former fan favorite Eddie House recently decided to join the Super Friends in Miami — it’s funny how embracing this city can be when that player comes to the Hub. A few thunderous two-handed jams, and Shaquille O’Neal will have the Garden eating out of his hand. Celtics fans probably don’t detest O’Neal based on his Los Angeles days because the two sides never met in a Finals. Some begrudge him more from his Orlando days, including when the Magic swept Boston in the first round of the 1995 playoffs, and in the final game at the Boston Garden, O’Neal (playfully) declared, “The Garden is closed for business.” You hate that player when he is on the other team; you love him when he’s on yours.

Steve Buckley, Boston Herald: True, Shaq is not just old, but real old. And he does have a way of altering locker room chemistry. And, um, well, you see, he, um, did take a meat clever to Perk’s face during the playoffs this season. But even an old Shaq makes the Celtics a better team. An old Shaq gives them a better chance of turning off the Heat. And that’s what the entire 2010-11 NBA season is all about: Some team needs to step up and defeat the Heat.

J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: If you selectively filter the numerous statements Shaq has made over the years, then his joining the Boston Celtics actually makes sense. No, it doesn’t jibe with his dubious claims that he’d be out of the NBA by the time he was in his early 30s, either sitting in a media analyst’s chair or serving as the sheriff of some small county. But it does fit his oft-repeated statements that he needed to add to his ring collection. As he said numerous times over the years, including upon his arrival in Phoenix, “I need five and six.” Teams that could make that conversation a reality were limited. His options were further restricted by his own personal history of clashing with another superstar and trashing the owner (Lakers), tearing down the management and medical staff (Miami), or jilting the city once before (Magic), taking those franchises out of play. Other up-and-comers, such as the Thunder, aren’t interested in a mercenary player who won’t be part of the long-term plan. Shaq has more to gain from this endeavor than the Celtics do. The Celtics are the ones who reached the NBA Finals last season, beating O’Neal and the Cleveland Cavaliers along the way. He’s the one who’s joining ’em. The irony is this is strictly about playing basketball. Can’t say this is about money or market, the accusations lobbed at O’Neal when he left Orlando to join the Lakers in Hollywood. This makes the cycle of his career complete. There are those who thought he wasn’t focused enough on basketball at a young age, just as there will be those who consider this cold, blatant pursuit of a championship unbecoming.

Of course, you can read my take here.

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