Shaq continues to say all the right things. He’s in Boston because he wants to win. He doesn’t mind being a complementary player. He has no more ego. He’s willing to do whatever Doc Rivers asks of him. He wants to sacrifice his game because he wants at least one more championship, and maybe two.
Then why the hell did he consider signing with the Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Hornets? (New Orleans Times Picayune)
Before the Celtics made their offer, O’Neal was interested in joining the Atlanta Hawks. But the Hawks weren’t willing to extend him a contract in the $8 million range that O’Neal wanted.
O’Neal said Friday he was interested in joining the New Orleans Hornets, and discussions took place when Jeff Bower was the general manager.
“It didn’t work out, ” O’Neal said.
I’m no genius or anything, but if I was simply trying to win another championship I wouldn’t be demanding $8 million from the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks are a good team, but they aren’t contenders. What they DID offer Shaq, though, was an opportunity to get paid and play a lot of minutes. I’m sure that’s why Shaq was interested in going to the ATL.
And the Hornets? The Hornets??? If winning was really the only thing on his mind, Shaq would have laughed in Jeff Bower’s face when the two spoke. But Shaq was actually interested.
Look, I’m not saying that Shaq will be a problem. I’m not saying he still has an ego. I’m not saying that he’ll act up and destroy team chemistry. I’m not saying Doc should fear a Sprewell or even a Manny Ramirez. I actually don’t think Shaq will be or do any of those things. From a chemistry standpoint, Shaq wasn’t a problem at all last season in Cleveland.
Just don’t think Boston was Shaq’s number one choice all along. It wasn’t. It was his fallback plan when he realized he couldn’t earn the money and minutes he wanted elsewhere.