To say it was a busy day in Waltham at the C’s practice facility would probably be the understatement of the century. Not only did we have the Shaq Press Conference, but there were plenty of other highlights. I attended the festivities on behalf of CelticsHub and here is a quick summary of what we will have from you throughout the upcoming week:
* Extended Interviews with Doc Rivers and Shaquille O’Neal (Post press conference)
* The announcement of the official signing of Luke Harangody to a deal (2 years guaranteed) and his comments to the media
* Thoughts from Von Wafer on signing with the team and what his role will be
First though, Danny Ainge met with the media via conference call, while reportedly vacationing in parts unknown. Danny’s interview was surprisingly pretty forthcoming, as he addressed a number of issues surrounding the team’s new big man rotation:
On Shaq’s Reputation:
I think Shaq is a guy that can still make a difference. Expectation in Phoenix were pretty high to play a major role, like he was in his prime. Our expectations for Shaq are not that. His role won’t be one with elevated expectation, we expect him to contribute to our team and play a role off our bench.
On Shaq’s New Role and Ego Issues
Shaq has addressed those issues and has made it clear they won’t become issues. He will come in and play a role that is different than any he has had in his career.
Were C’s Players Consulted Before Signing?
I’ve talked with players on our team and got their opinions on whether it would be a good fit both on the floor and in the locker room. I got uniamous support from those I spoke with.
On Different Big Man Pairings:
I think Shaq and Jermaine could play together as well as Shaq and KG, and Shaq and Big Baby. It’s one thing I like about the front line we have, there are a lot of interchangeable pieces, we have enough shooters and enough beef in each one of those combinations, so any of those four big man combos can play well together.
On Perk’s Future With Team; Does Signing Take Pressure Off Him?
It does take pressure off of Kendrick. He has a very bright future and he knows we think very highly of him. We’re not certain though, when he is 100 percent and this allows us to be patient with Kendrick.
At the same time, I’m sure he’s going to be worried and nervous since we are going to win games with this front line even when he’s not playing. I’ll be sitting with and talking with Kendrick throughout this whole process and hopefully he can get just focus on getting himself healthy and competing for his job back.
On The Pursuit of Shaq in Free Agency
We contracted Shaq’s people right out of the gate in free agency. We let them out he would be a good fit and like him. I’ve had several conversations with his Representative for the past five weeks. There were times when I thought we were close and there were times when I thought nothing would happen. It was a little bit of a roller coaster during negotiations.
On Turning Point in Shaq Negotiations
I really didn’t know anything about Shaq coming aboard with us, until I got a phone call from his rep saying Shaq would like to play in Boston and he’s ready to come on your terms. Up until that point, I didn’t think he would come, so it happened very quickly.
CH’s Analysis: All in all, a very candid interview from Mr. Ainge. The most telling comments to me really involved the future of Perk. It sounds like he will be handed nothing when he returns from injury and there might be some tension surrounding that possibility with him already.
Given the fact Perk is already injured in a contract year, it’s incredibly understandable for him to be worked up over his status with the team, if he’s buried on the depth chart when he returns from injury. You can’t fault Danny’s logic though here.
The team will obviously go with the guys that gives the team the best chance to win. Whether that is, Shaq, Jermaine, or Perk at the center spot when the playoffs roll around remains to be scene, but it’s clear Perk will not be handed back his job as the incumbent once he returns.
The negotiations between the Shaq and Ainge also were intriguing, since it sounds like it took awhile for Shaq to come to accept the C’s terms of minimum money and no guarantee of a starting job. Ainge waited him out though and obviously with appealing options for the Diesel limited, came to grips that this was likely the best situation for him to succeed in.
Stick with CelticsHub for much more from Shaq throughout the day and upcoming week.