Rivers said in a radio interview with ESPN 950 in Washington that the legendary center plans to be flexible. "Absolutely coach," O'Neal told Rivers when asked if he'd be OK with a reserve role. O'Neal went on to agree that he'd even be fine with playing just 10-15 minutes per game.
"I pushed," he said. "You looked around and you looked at the free agents. I saw Shaq was the best available at the time." Pierce doesn't buy into the notion that the O'Neal signing is simply adding another over-the-hill player to an already aging roster.
"When you put him in our group of guys, he's going to have a different role now," Pierce said. "The role he had in Cleveland, he had to be the second guy or the third guy at times. With us, it's not going to have to be that way. We have a number of guys we can play through. There's not a lot of pressure for Shaq to go out and get the 15 or 20 (points) a night like he had to in Cleveland for them to be successful.
Shaquille O'Neal was officially introduced as a member of the Celtics on Tuesday.
"I've done everything individually that I've set out to do," O'Neal said. "Now, toward the latter part of my career, it's all about winning."
O'Neal, who wore a suit and bow tie for the introduction, insists that he'll accept any role in Boston.
"I still have hunger, I still can play, I still want to win," O'Neal said. "When I close my book at the end of the day it's all about winning, nothing else."
In terms of nicknames, O'Neal likes the Big Shamrock but was also partial to the Big Green Mile.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: He gave his word. Publicly.
Today, the Boston Celtics unveiled Shaquille O'Neal at a press conference, and the future Hall of Fame center promised reporters he'd play any role for the Eastern Conference champions.
Minutes, shots, and touches don't matter. Only winning.
This sounds nice, but will O'Neal keep his word and mouth shut in the middle of, say, a January losing streak? And how will he influence his younger, impressionable teammates?
Fortunately, the Celtic players police each other. When this fails, Coach Doc Rivers has the people skills to finesse O'Neal.
Hopefully, they won't need it.
Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: He remains versatile.
Larry Hughes is no longer a blending star, but can still play and defend all three perimeter positions. His unique skill-set would help numerous teams, especially his alleged number one suitor the Boston Celtics.
Coach Doc Rivers could use Hughes as Ray Allen and/or Paul Pierce's primary back-up. The veteran could also get minutes at the back-up point guard spot if Nate Robinson gets injured or if the green-and-white goes big.
Best of all, Hughes has the athleticism to take over for Tony Allen as the club's lockdown defender. Let's be clear: Hughes can't replace Allen, a terrific on-the-ball defender. He can, however, play the same role because of his physical attributes.
Currently, these are hypotheticals. One question is still to be answered: would Hughes accept a supporting role?
Fair or not, right or wrong, Hughes has a reputation for demanding shots, touches, and minutes. In Boston, his role would fluctuate. There'd be no guarantee of shots, touches, or minutes.
His sacrifice could result in a championship, though. The Celtics have added Jermaine and Shaquille O'Neal to a nucleus that was one quarter from winning an NBA Title.
So he is versatile. But is he willing?
Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
The Lakers have the best player, but Boston's depth of big-time playmakers will prevail in a game like this. I count eight Celtics -- the four current or former All-Stars in their starting lineup, plus Rasheed Wallace, Glen Davis, Nate Robinson’s and little-used Michael Finley, a three-point shooter with the potential to become this game's Steve Kerr -- who have it in them to make the big shot. The absence of Kendrick Perkins may create more offense for the Celtics, and they'll make up for his rebounding with a team effort led by Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. Anticipate nothing less than a tightly wound classic played to a tempo that suits Boston.
Click here for Ian Thomsen's official game seven prediction and more analysis from the CNNSI crew.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: The Boston Celtics are deserving of respect.
Consider their road to the NBA Finals. First, they took out Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat -despite some questionable tactics from Kevin Garnett. They made the Cleveland Cavaliers – the NBA’s best team in the regular season – implode, which, unfortunately, gave us an extra month of The LeBron Watch. They then coolly took out the Orlando Magic, the reigning Eastern Conference champions, in six games.
This was a most improbable run for a club that was supposedly dead, gone, and over at mid-season. Clearly, they saved their best for last, though.
The green-and-white have now pushed the defending champion and heavily favoured Lakers to the limit. The secret to Boston’s success: inspired team play on the defensive end.
Look at the NBA Finals: they’ve mostly contained Ron Artest and Lamar Odom; they’ve battled superstar Pau Gasol; and they’ve made the immortal Kobe Bryant look surprisingly mortal.
Doc Rivers’ crew is an all-time great defensive team. They can hang with any of Phil Jackson’s Chicago teams that had notable defenders like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Horace Grant/Dennis Rodman. And they hold their own against Detroit’s Bad Boys and any of Pat Riley’s squads in Los Angeles or New York.
Offensively, somebody different carries the load each night. For instance, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo have all had moments.
Of course, reserves Glen Davis and Nate Robinson – also known as Shrek and Donkey - won game four of the NBA Finals. And the defending Sprite Slam Dunk Champion went off in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals, too.
That said, the Lakers have the edge in the decisive game-seven. Here’s why:
1) Home-court matters: The purple-and-gold is a different team at home. They’re confident. They’re nasty. And they’re arrogant.
2) No Perk’: The Celtics will miss Kendrick Perkins. They lack the size to win the paint, and contain Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
3) Kobe Bryant: He’s the best player on either team. He’s the best player in the NBA. And he understands tonight is a legacy game.
Bryant – if he wants to be considered an all-time great – can’t afford a loss. After all, five championships are far better than four. And two losses to the arch rival Celtics in the NBA Finals would be devastating.
Expect Bryant to drop a Jordan-like effort. And HoopsVibe News expects the Lakers to win.
Prediction for game-seven of the 2010 NBA Finals: Lakers 95, Boston 88.
Got thoughts? What is your prediction for game-seven of the NBA Finals?
What happened? The game was over when Kendrick Perkins got injured. The Lakers took their hearts. After Kobe questioned his teammates’ hearts, they proved that they had more than enough for game 6 in Los Angeles. Pau Gasol finished with a near triple double: 17 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 blocks. Derek Fisher didn’t need to do much. Kendrick Perkins is done. Rajon Rondo took a vicious elbow from Ron Artest that required stitches. The Lakers got this and Kobe got his 5th ring.Read More
Robinson, who will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his five-year career, said he definitely has interest in re-signing with the Celtics if they want him back.
"Of course,'' Robinson said in an interview Friday with FanHouse, a day after Boston fell 102-89 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Lakers.
Even though the 5-foot-9 Robinson's playing time has been erratic, he said he likes the way the Celtics have treated him since he was acquired Feb. 19 from New York.
"I feel wanted here,'' said Robinson, who averaged 6.5 points in 14.7 minutes in 26 Boston regular-season games, but has seen his numbers drop in the postseason to 3.4 points in 6.4 minutes in the 11 games he has played.
"This group of guys, this team, this organization is good for me. They're high class, man. They keep it 100 percent (real) with you. Doc (Rivers, the coach) keeps it 100 percent. He tells you straight forward what he wants. I like that.''
HoopsVibe's Quick Call: Can you feel the love?
Nate Robinson is apparently cool with the Boston Celtics because they've 'kept it 100 percent' real with him.
Okay, HoopsVibe News has no idea what this means, except it's good. For several reasons, club and player are a fit and should continue their mutually beneficial partnership with an extension this summer. Here's why:
1) Boston's Hall of Fame veterans have the credibility to keep Robinson on track. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce can play bad cop and, if necessary, get in the tiny combo guard's face, allowing Coach Doc Rivers and GM Danny Ainge to play the good cop and encourage him.
2) Of course, Robinson, when focused, provides energy, life, and athleticism. This is always useful, especially when coming off the bench for a veteran laden club. For instance, the former Slam Dunk champion had an amazing game six performance, which helped Boston seal the Eastern Conference championship.
3) The Celtics are a defensive terror. That's their identity. Together, Robinson and Rajon Rondo would be the quickest starter-back-up point guard tandem in the NBA. And they'd harass opposing table-setters with their intense on-the-ball pressure.
4) How out of control can you look with Rasheed Wallace as a teammate?
Is Robinson and the Celtics and a match? Let us know in the comment box below.
The New Orleans Hornets, who offered their vacant coaching job to Boston Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau last week, might hire someone else if Thibodeau has not accepted the job before Game 1 of the NBA Finals, according to sources close to the situation.
The Hornets don't want to let their coaching search drag beyond this week and plan to offer the job instead to Portland Trail Blazers assistant Monty Williams if Thibodeau, Boston's defensive specialist, doesn't accept by Thursday, according to sources.
HoopsVibe's Quick Call: It all depends on why Thibodeau is making them wait.
It's fair if the defensive guru has held off making a decision because he doesn't want distractions while the Boston Celtics are in the NBA Finals. However, it's unfair if the veteran assistant is keeping the New Orleans Hornets waiting in hopes of landing a better offer from another franchise -or perhaps even the Celtics.
Remember, head coach Doc Rivers could call it quits at season's end, so Thibodeau might prefer sliding down Boston's bench instead of relocating to New Orleans.
Got thoughts on the Hornets' coaching situation? Get at us in the comment box below.