Four Corners: Could Shaq make a difference for Celtics?

August 05, 2010

Walton set precedent

Dom Amore

Hartford Courant

There probably were those who chuckled or rolled their eyes when the Celtics picked up Bill Walton for a magical mystery tour in the mid-1980s. A once-great center, no longer a star, no longer able to stand up to the rigors of full-time play, just what did Red Auerbach think he was doing when he signed "Big Red"?

You know the rest. Walton knew how to win, and knew how to tailor his remaining skills to the needs of a team that was already solid, and chemistry paid off in a championship.

So could Shaq help the Celtics? The short answer: Of course.

The Celtics' window for winning more championships with their current core is just about shut; perhaps there is one more available before the Heat coalesce. Keeping the risk manageable, they should take a shot with Shaq.

Lakers legacy not at risk

Lisa Dillman

Los Angeles Times

At 38, the former Laker is poised to join the team most-hated by Lakers fans.

How much does Shaq have left to help the Celtics? Should this impact any future plans to retire his jersey with the Lakers when he does, eventually, retire from the game?

The second question, first.

This has nothing to do with what Shaq did in Los Angeles. He can change teams, but it does nothing to detract from his impressive Lakers resume. No need to purge his name and three straight championships from the Lakers media guide.

The other issue is more difficult. Boston needs big men in a major way until Kendrick Perkins returns from knee surgery. And the strong personalities in the Celtics locker room can get the best from Shaq's larger-than-life persona.

Play, then trade Shaq

Ira Winderman

Sun Sentinel

Sure, at least during the period that Kendrick Perkins requires to recover from offseason knee surgery, an absence that could linger into February.

Shaq remains an imposing presence and certainly had his moments last season with Cavaliers.

But for the Celtics, it's not about the regular season. It certainly wasn't last season, when, after meandering through the first 82 games, they mounted a charge to the NBA Finals.

So the greater issue becomes: What happens when Perkins and Jermaine O'Neal stand ahead of him in the rotation? An unhappy O'Neal is a very large problem to contend with.

The solution: Play him the first half of the season, then when Perkins returns, move Shaq at the trading deadline.

He has been reduced to the Big Journeyman.

Shaq still has presence

Josh Robbins

Orlando Sentinel

Go ahead and be skeptical about the Boston Celtics' acquisition of Shaquille O'Neal.

The Big Shamrock will prove you wrong.

Shaq isn't the player he was three, five or 10 years ago. We all know that.

But in a league with few quality centers, he's still good enough to give opponents headaches in a playoff series.

His presence could create a problem on an inexperienced team, but not a group led by Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. The Big Three can handle the Shaq circus.

So can Doc Rivers.

Boston's coach did a masterful job last season of making sure that his older players were fresh once the playoffs arrived, and the Celtics reaped the dividends.

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