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Source: Celtics Are Not Expecting Shaq Back In Playoffs

The news comes via Bill Burt (a respected reporter and sports editor) of The Eagle Tribune: a small newspaper that covers northern Massachusetts and southern NH (h/t: Redsarmy)

Also keep in mind when reading this report that Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said this morning in an interview that Shaq would play if the Celtics face an elimination game this postseason. With that said, this is still worth digesting, even if it’s with a few grains of salt:

Shaquille O’Neal may have worn a Boston Celtics uniform for the last time.

In what would be a crippling blow to their chances of winning a title, the Celtics are going forward as if the affable center won’t be returning to team for the playoffs, according to an NBA source.

The Celtics came to this conclusion after Shaq failed to complete one simple sprint up and down the court during a “conditioning test” on Saturday, before he limped off the court in Waltham.

If he were to come back, it would have to be a miraculous recovery,” said the source, who requested anonymity. “And at his age (he turned 39 on March 6) and physical condition, the Celtics have planned accordingly.”

While Shaq has another year remaining in his contract, the source said retirement is all but a certainty after the numerous injuries this season.

Definitely some sobering news on the heels of a hard fought 2-0 series edge over the pesky Knicks. A few subtle thoughts on this report:

1) The NBA Source makes it pretty clear this is someone from pretty far outside the organization talking, as Grousbeck’s comment this morning shows.

2) We have seen this kind of talk with the Celtics before, a la Kevin Garnett in 2009 with his knee injury. Then and now, the team is probably quite aware of the worst case scenario for these players, (not returning in postseason) but it’s not really in their best interest to admit to that in the media, a reality I can’t blame them for.

3) I don’t expect the Celtics to give any validity to this report. They have been saying he’s day-to-day for awhile now, so for that to suddenly change after a day or two would be pretty farfetched.

With all that in mind, we’ll hear from Doc in the next hour or so, from Waltham, where the team is going over film (and hopefully some rebounding drills) in preparation for Game 3. We’ll have full coverage of his remarks when he gets asked the question for the 100th time about Shaq’s return, as well as further analysis about how far this squad can honestly go if Shaq’s big body won’t be clogging up the paint this postseason at some point for 20 minutes a game.

  • Robert


    • kricky

      Thumbs up, though it should be "AIIIIIINGE!!!!"

  • gray rice

    ddddddddddddd that's all folks!!!

  • Abdullah

    Anyone surprised by this news? It's no brainer. He doesn't even walk properly.

  • Danny Ainge

    That is absolutely, totally, and in all other ways inconceivable!

  • Alex

    …and the karma bank is repaid.

  • david spern

    Seeing images of big baby tyring to rebound over gasol and bynum.

    • Zee

      I don't see that, b/c Lakers aren't making the Finals.

      • Batman

        Um who is going to knock them off

  • MikeD

    While this report is probably true, I hate when it says "according to an NBA source." If you aren't going to name the source, you shouldn't be allowed to publish it. Too many rumors get started with the technology today so you should be required to cite your sources if you are going to publish something.

  • LJP305

    Since genius Danny Ainge signed aging/heavy Shaq for $1.35mil (less than 7% of what he was paid the prior year) based on Celtic owner Grousbeck’s speculative hunch that the Kobe/Shaq feud was equivalent to manna from heaven, I predicted Shaq would take off far more time this season and — he has (i.e., he prefers directing the Boston POPs, park statute posing and riding the subway as Shaquita to maintaining conditioning for the NBA — all very un-Kobe-like). Might the nearly $7mil genius Danny spent for the O’Neals have been better spent extending Perk’s contract? We’ll never know but Grousbeck’s hunch is documented several places on the Internet starting 9-10-10: (i.e., “The minute I heard Kobe [Bryant] say he had one more ring than Shaq, I said to Danny, ‘Let’s go get Shaq,’ and it happened,” said Grousbeck.). Team chemistry and cohesiveness as well as players’ conditioning are far more relevant and important factors in pursuing a NBA Championship successfully than an owner’s speculative hunch.

    • Guest

      I partly agree. Danny Ainge thought that Shaq will take Perk's role in being the big man for long amounts of minutes but forgot that Shaq is aging and that he can obviously not play every game for more than 20 minutes.

      I really don't know what he thought. If Shaq doesn't come back by the time we play the Heat, I have no hope for the celtics. Especially after looking at the 100 – 77 win by the Heat over the Celtics.

  • Brian

    Even if Shaq somehow manages to play in a game it won't be for long and I can't see him being all that effective. Ainge blew it big time gambling on Shaq. Perk with Jermaine and Erden as backups would have been a nice Center rotation. Yes the backup SF position would still be an issue but give me a break, you don't trade a starting center for a backup tweener forward. I have a feeling that the veterans on the team know Ainge flushed the season down the toilet and that's why there hasn't been anything but minor flashes of inspired play since the trade.

    • cml

      To say the backup SF would have been an issue is about the understatement of the year. We had nobody left. No one. And it's not like the waiver wire was hopping either. Imagine Sasha Pavlovic having to play 15-20 minutes a game.

      People are just too hung up on this trade. Danny deserves some criticism, but he deserves it for not doing something about the backup 3 before the year. Relying on Marquis to stay healthy was the big problem.

      Or, if you want to critique him on the bigs front, not going after Kurt Thomas in the offseason is another example.

      • kricky

        How many minutes did Green play in the last two games?

        I think we'd be better off with Perk and Pavlovic/Wafer/Brewer (we could have signed him) filling in the backup 3 role.

        • cml

          What did Perk give OKC in their first game?

          We need to stop overrating him.

        • cml

          And Brewer is a pipe dream, IMO. Dallas was a good fit for him, and, as I recall, had more money available.

  • SteveB

    I think the team is counting on him less than the fans are. Nenad will have to step up and play like he did his first few games in green. JO will have to stay somewhat healthy. And Baby will have to start rebounding again and become the "round mound of rebound part II". It's been discussed quite a bit on the air lately that the big center is a thing of the past. Dwight Howard is the only dominant center and that isn't nearly enough the way the game has evolved. Adapt or die. The Celtics need to get much younger and quicker in the coming years while keeping their core philosophies. If Jeff Green would go out and grab 10 boards the lack of Shaq means a little less. All hands on deck.

    • cml

      Exactly. I think the team gambled that they could have 1 O'Neal healthy and then get other players to step up. They didn't anticipate Krstic, Baby, and Green all being more or less completely useless for an extended stretch.

      Unless the entire bench steps up, the team will have problems going forward.

    • cml

      Exactly. I think the team gambled that they could have 1 O'Neal healthy and then get other players to step up. They didn't anticipate Krstic, Baby, and Green all being more or less completely useless for an extended stretch.

      • cml

        Sorry for the double post.

        I'm hoping for Baby and Green to get out of their funk and play decently well. Sadly, I think our title hopes rest on that happening.

        • SteveB

          Not only do you need them now but I really think they are keys for the Celtics future plans. We saw what Green could do with extended minutes but those weren't in a meaningful game. We went to the Pacers game in Boston and Green had 13 in the 2nd quarter against a pretty athletic and young squad. I like this core of players, including most of the bench, and will still watch, #18 or not.

  • Stephe

    I like that everyone is positive but this is the deciding blow to the C's chances. The decision to trade Perk was based on how well the Cs played defense w Shaq. Ainge depended on the oldest player in the league being healthy.
    I've never heard of the best team in the league making making such a bad decision. Ever. Ainge has screwed C's fans and he needs to be fired.

    • james patrick

      Agreed! Dunno about the firing part, but my ass def. hurts from getting screwed!

    • kricky

      Danny needs to make amends by getting us CP3 and/or Howard in the offseason.

      I'll go back to hitting my pipe now…

  • TMR

    I had a big felling before the season that this would happen. Shaq is wack like crack quit signing players who cant score. Looking to next year Celtics out round 2.

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