Shaq reportedly expects to be the starter in Boston, at least until Perk comes back. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
With Shaq off to Boston here’s a quick epilogue as it relates to the Hawks:
I’ve been told that Atlanta wouldn’t budge on giving Shaq a starting nod over Al, who is after all still only 24-years old and an All-Star. Shaq believes he will get the starting nod over Jermaine O’Neal in Boston as Kendrick Perkins rehabs from his knee injury.
Atlanta also wasn’t willing to pay Shaq more than the minimum and that was a sticking point for him. He didn’t want to sign for the minimum when the Hawks had their bi-annual and mid-level exceptions available because of the perception that would create–as in the Hawks could have paid him more but didn’t. That’s not the case with Boston, which had neither of those exceptions and so could only give him the minimum.
The big guy still has his pride.
Damn it. If this is true, Shaq might have come to Boston just so he could start for at least half the season. And it would be fine if he did: I’d prefer that Jermaine O’Neal start, but he and Shaq are actually pretty comparable as players. It’s not like Jermaine is head and shoulders better than Shaq.
No, if this report is true, the problem isn’t that Shaq might start. It’s that he WANTS to start. The Celtics need Shaq to get rid of his ego. They need him to develop Ubuntu. They need him to accept that he’s 38 years old and, at this point of his career, a role player. They need him to sacrifice his personal glory to win a ring. They need him to do whatever Doc Rivers asks. What they definitely DON’T need is an old, semi-washed-up former superstar who still wants individual shine.
We’re hoping, praying, begging that Shaq will change. That he’ll throw away that massive ego of his to become a team-first player once and for all. This is the first sign that it might not happen. Here’s wishing it will also be the last.
P.S. – Chris Forsberg and Red’s Army wonder if Perkins has a problem with the squad adding Shaq. I don’t think I’d say that yet, but… you can’t forget that Perk is in a contract year and Shaq and Jermaine are both signed for the next two seasons. You wonder whether Perk resents them being on the squad, at least a little bit.
P.P.S. – The Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi: “Prediction: The Celtics may be happy Shaq is coming to town, but they will be even happier when he leaves town in two years. … The sad part is this: In the places Shaquille O’Neal has played, he will always be known but never be loved.” I’m not sure we fully realize what we’ve gotten ourselves into.