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Ainge on Shaq’s Role, & Will Perk Have To Earn Back His Starting Spot?

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.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    “competing for his job back”

    wow and wow. in a contract year. danny is all hardball. reminds me of the whole questioning rondo in the press while he was negotiating his deal. ainge ended up with a sweet contract for the team in that situation. perk’s contract is THE major decision for the future of the Cs…

  • http://celticshub.com/?gcid=C12289x022&gtkw=Celtics+Hub The Ego

    Reading this makes me happy. I really think either O’neal is better thank Perk-they’re longer, more skilled-, but if he proves that to be wrong, then it’ll be great for the team.

  • Jrmz

    Looks like Ainge plans to sign Perkins at a bargain deal like he did with Rondo. Smart moves by Ainge to ensure we have the most amount of cap space possible.

  • Jeff

    This stuff is all part of Danny’s set up for the future.

    Perk will get his job back when he’s “fully healthy” wich may not be until next year.

    Danny is going to take all this to the negotiating table when he looks to resign Perk.

    He’ll say, “We’ve got two starting Center’s on our roster for two years, next year could be locked out, you’ve had a major injury to your knee, the team is unsure and can’t over committ, etc, etc, etc.”

    The whole company line, and try to resign Perk for a team friendly deal like 4 years $30-35 mil.

    That would leave them:

    Rondo – around $11 mil
    Paul – around $15 mil
    and Perk around $7 mil

    Which would allow Danny to get a big money FA if he wants. Maybe a marquee PF or SG.

  • Ross in Maine

    Great post! I swear we’re all steeling by getting content like this for free. Keep up the good work.

    DA is building a fire under Perk. He’ll come back better than ever and beat those old men with their walkers to take his job back. Hopefully by the All-Star break, certainly by April.

  • JP

    Danny is probobly playing a game here, but I still believe the team is best with Perk at center, they’ve been to two finals with him and that starting 5 is as good as any in the NBA

  • Chris O

    Danny sounds like the new Bill Belichick…he’s a mastermind. And yes Ross this site it the best, thank you to the writers for giving us our off season dose of Celtics dope.

  • Perry

    I would think it would be prudent to lock up Perk once he returns. Considering the contract Haywood just signed for, and Perk’s age, he would be a real value at 5 years for $30m or for the price Jeff mentioned.

  • Jeff

    @ Perry

    It would be another steal by Ainge, just like getting Rondo locked up.

    Imagine what NY or NJ or anyone else who lost out on the other guys would’ve offered Rondo this summer!

    He would’ve got close to a max deal or max probably.

  • I love Green

    Hopefully Shaq helps Perk out with his post game, and they start developing his offense more.

  • Tristan

    Detroit just agreed to TMac…..we need to chase Prince!!! I know Sheeds contract wont be enough, what else would you give up from him? Remembering that he is a great rebounder and reliable scorer!!!

  • Perry

    BREAKING: Sheed has been waived.

  • Tristan

    I saw that report on NBA.COM but cant find it anywhere else…..how true is it, and if so, this was a stupid move! could have used that contract to trade for something…..anything

  • James

    The bottom line is Perk has to play better when he comes back. He needs to rebound better (is 10-12 rebs a game asking too much?) and his offense needs to improve. No dribble just go up and score damn it! This should light a fire under Perk when he comes back and the opportunity to learn from two of the best should not be lost on him. Go Cs…

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