A few weeks ago Danny Ainge wouldn't shut the door completely on the other O'Neal joining Jermaine in the paint for the Celtics. He did, however, consider it unlikely. Now that the market seems to be drying up for Shaq, maybe the odds are becoming greater.
Veteran free agent center Shaquille O'Neal -- the future Hall of Famer without a team -- has been lobbying the Boston Celtics aggressively, still trying to convince them that his addition would help their quest to win another NBA championship.
"He only wants to go to a team with a chance to win it all,'' one source said. "That's a short list. Even for the money, he's not going to a non-contender.''
So it becomes a matter of price. Will he agree to become the Big Leprechaun for the vet minimum? Not likely.
With Shaq's horrible series against Boston fresh in the minds of NBA executives, nobody wants to pay Shaq his reported asking price: at least $8 million a season, as well as a guaranteed starting spot. The Atlanta Hawks were supposed to be one of the few teams with legitimate interest in the big fella, but after sigining Josh Powell to a discount contract, they might not want Shaq either.
If he was looking for $8 million a season, his price (and ego) would have to come down quite a bit to fit into the vet minimum slot. My guess is that he's hoping the team will work out a sign and trade with Cleveland involving Sheed's contract. My fear there is convincing the Cavs to make a move like that would likely require giving up some other asset like a pick. And I'm not sure it is worth a pick (not to mention the Sheed trade asset) to overpay an aging (albeit legendary) center.
Then again, if he takes a 2 year deal and the Cavs take just a 2nd rounder, then he might fit right into the "give it one more shot" gameplan that Danny is riding right now.