The Big Shamrock. The Big Lucky. The Green Monster. The Big “enter nickname with a Boston feel to it here.”
Whatever he is going to be called, Shaquille O’Neal is going to be a member of the Boston Celtics for what looks to be a two-year marriage. O’Neal hasn’t exactly had the long-term commitments from his recent teams — considering he’s now been a part of four teams since the 2007-08 season.
But this marriage might work in the short-term.
Let’s face it, the Celtics will be old … really, really old. But maybe all that wisdom, all that experience and now all those rings that Shaq brings to the table can bring Banner 18 to Boston.
Kendrick Perkins will reportedly be out until after the ball drops and 2011 arrives, and even when he returns who knows what kind of shape or minutes he can deliver to this team.
Kevin Garnett and the rest of the frontcourt in the first round of the playoffs recently humiliated the other O’Neal —Jermaine — last year, so limiting his minutes to keep him fresh and healthy towards the end of the season will be huge.
The Celtics won’t be looking for Shaq to be the Shaq of old either. He’s only played in 70 or more games once in the last five seasons. That came in 2008-09 for the Phoenix Suns when he average 17.8 points a night and swallowed — because that’s what Shaq does, he swallows rebounds — 8.4 rebounds a night.
So, if the Celts can get any resemblance of that Shaq, then he will do more than just hold the fort down until Kendrick Perkins gets back.
Last season, Shaq was battling injuries and his numbers dipped to 12.0 points and 6.7 rebounds a night, but he was pretty solid in the playoff series that saw LeBron James don a Cleveland jersey for the last time.
This may not be the Shaq of 10 years ago or even two years ago for that matter. But a motivated Shaq can be a dangerous man. Just look at how he helped Dwayne Wade and Miami capture that title a few years ago. Just look at how Kobe Bryant may have ticked him off a bit when Kobe just so happened to mention that he has one more ring than the “Big Aristotle.”
Will he be an All-Star? No, probably not. Will he be what the doctor ordered for big man depth? I think so. I think he will fit in nicely and take a back seat to whatever Doc Rivers asked of him.
Just look at how much money he signed for. In his two years he will make a little less than $4 million. Shaq made $20 million last year.
So give him whatever nicknames you’d like Celtics’ fans. Let’s just hope he’s called the Big Champion at the end of the season.