Almost all the news around Celtics Nation during the past fourty-eight hours have included the name Shaquille O'Neal. It was reported early yesterday that the Celtics were the leaders in the Shaq sweepstakes and today it became official that Shaq would become a Celtics.
The Big (fill in the blank) will wear the number 36 for the Celtics. It is reported that he signed a two year deal with the team. Shaq will fill a big void for the Celtics during the first half of the season during Kendrick Perkins recovery. Once Perk returns it will be up to the Doc (Rivers) to mend together a unit full of quality big men.
There is no doubt in my mind that Kendrick Perkins, given that he is fully healthy, will be the starting center for this team down the stretch. He has been the Celtics number one center since the "Big Three Era" and will continue that trend playing for head coach Doc Rivers.
That brings up the following question: How will Doc distribute minutes between these three centers? At one point or another all three of these guys have had starting roles on a team. Shaq in Orlando, Phoenix, L.A, and Cleveland. Jermaine O'Neal in Indiana, Portland, Toronto and Miami. Perk in Boston.
Assuming Perk does get the starting nod down the stretch, what happens to the O'Neal's minutes? Does Doc try to transform Jermaine back into a power forward? If so, as our good friend Nick Gelso at North Station Sports pointed out, where does that leave Big Baby?
No matter what Doc chooses to do with all these big men, someone is going to get the shit end of the stick. When you think about it, we are asking the two O'Neals to split Rasheed Wallace's minutes from last year once Perkins returns. Am I the only one that don't think that will work out?
The only way I can see this Shaq signing work is if Danny decides to trade off one of the pieces at the trade deadline. In my opinon, given that Jermaine O'Neal doesn't completely light the world on fire in the first half of the season, that piece would have to be JO.
In no way can that piece be Big Baby. Although Danny seems to be thinking about right now, there has to be some thought put into the future of this team. Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins, and Rajon Rondo are all pieces the Celtics can not afford to trade away just to add a player to an already deep roster.
Now, back to the whole Shaq thing. In a fantasy world Shaq will come to Boston, play like the all-star Shaquille O'Neal we saw in Orlando and L.A while backing up Jermaine O'Neal, then do whatever Doc Rivers asks of him once Perkins returns. Will that happen? I'm not so sure. Just like with the Rasheed Wallace signing last year this will be a wait and see type of deal. Let's just hope it works out for the best.