Reporters from around the Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to leave a comment of your own.
[Updated at 1:15 p.m.:
Lisa Dillman, Los Angeles Times
Ah, even the most carefully-crafted plan can veer wildly off course.
After dinner last night, we were talking about Shaquille O’Neal and his expected deal with the Celtics. My friend and former Laker beat writer Tim Kawakami said O’Neal once told him that he planned on retiring when he was 30.
Well … that went well.
At 38, the former Laker, Shaq, is poised to join the team most-hated by Laker fans. Bring on the Jolly Green Giant.
(Just think how painful this information might be had the Lakers LOST Game 7 to the Celtics.)
Either way, it does raise two questions: How much does Shaq have left to help the Celtics? Should this impact any future plans to retire his jersey with the Lakers when he does, eventually, retire from the game?
The second question, first.
No, this has nothing to do with what Shaq did in Los Angeles. He can change teams, change his name and his nicknames, and even change his number but it does nothing to detract from his impressive Laker resume. No need to purge his name and his three straight championships from the Laker media guide.
The other issue is more difficult. Frankly, the concept of Shaq always sounds better than the injury-riddled reality. It is a given he will get hurt and would be stunning if he played well over 50-plus games. Despite that, Boston is the best fit, by far, for O’Neal, much better than, say. Atlanta. Boston needs big men in a major way until Kendrick Perkins returns from knee surgery. And the strong personalities in the Celtic room can also temper and get the best and what is left from Shaq’s larger-than-life persona.
Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun Sentinel
Sure, at least during the period that Kendrick Perkins requires to recover from his offseason knee surgery, an absence that could linger into February.
Shaq remains an imposing presence and certainly had his moments last season with the Cavaliers.
But for the Celtics, it's not about the regular season. It certainly wasn't last season, when, after meandering through the first 82 games, they mounted a charge all the way to the NBA Finals.
So the greater issue becomes: What happens when Perkins and Jermaine O'Neal stand ahead of him in the rotation? An unhappy O'Neal is a very large problem to contend with.
Just ask Jerry Buss. Or Stan Van Gundy. Or Pat Riley. Or Terry Porter.
The perfect solution: Play him the first half of the season, then, when Perkins returns, move Shaq at the trading deadline, to his fourth team in three seasons. He has been reduced to, at this stage, The Big Journeyman.]