Unfortunately it's true and it is official, Shaquille O'neal has joined the Boston Celtics. Ten years ago we were jumping out of our seats in pure ecstasy as Kobe Bryant drove past Blazer defenders throwing up a lob to Shaq for a dunk, a Hollywood ending to a seven game series, thrusting the Lakers into a three-peat dynasty. At the time, Shaq was the most dominant force the game had ever seen, totally destroying teams with thunderous dunks and causing their entire front line to be in foul trouble. He was the next phase of Laker Legends.
Then of course we had our divorce, which led O'neal to play with many other teams, while we compiled a team that would again take three straight times to the finals, including winning the last two in a row. So he makes the move everyone in Lakerland would deem the most wicked, he signs with the Celtics. The CELTICS! The evil men of green, with the stupid Lepercon. What are the Celtics going to call themselves now? The Lepercon's in the hood?
Many of Laker fans couldn't have cared less where Shaq ended up finishing out his career. But now many of them are just mad as a raging bull. Others like myself, feel hurt, betrayed. How can he ruin the Laker legacy that he had spent the prime of his career establishing. That is exactly how we will all view it. Many outside of Lakerland will view him chasing another ring at the end of his playing days, so it's no big deal.
BUT IT IS A BIG DEAL.
In the West the Lakers have no real competition, and in the East there was going to be a war between Boston, Orlando, and Miami. But unless the Celtics are all hurt come playoff time, they won't have any real competion either! Orlando made no upgrades this offseason, Miami made a huge upgrade with the additions of Lebron James and Chris Bosh, but lets face it, they have NO inside game. So they are not contenders yet, they will be good, but not champions until they get a rotation that has some players that can play down in the block.
The Celtics on the other hand are going to go through the motions during the regular season, thanks to Docs brilliant planning. Funny thing, that's what Shaq tries to do too and is quiet good at it!
Everyone is talking about Perkins being out, but he will be back around the all-star break, it's not like he is going to be missing the playoffs. By the time the playoffs come around he will be in full swing, with the additions of Jermaine O'neal and Shaquille O'neal. They have now added vetran SIZE to a lineup that we dominated in the finals.
The Laker advantage as been in the paint because our players we taller. Many people are pointing out that Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum ard Lamar Odom are better on paper; but let's be realistic, those guys are going to play soft compared to a frontline of KG, Shaq, Perkins, Jermaine and Big Baby. Many of the so called experts are claiming this move will be disruptive to their defensive schemes, but the guy who made those schemes is now coaching the Chicago Bulls. Doc Rivers only implemented them. So now they will just do some things differently.
Shaq may not be as talented and as dominant as he once was, but he is still big, and as good as Gasol is, I can see having Shaq and KG mess with his head. Of course Gasol could talk with Major Leauge Baseball and get his hands on some good recreational steriods to go along with a Arnold Swartzenager workout to beef him up, but I find that highly unlikely.
The deal is this, the Lakers just repeated by winning a game seven finals against are evil rivals, and then we upgrade our bench, making it seem nearly impossible for us not to three-peat; and then one of our own gets possessed by green in the middle of the night (I think green aliens did it) and claimed him as their own. Now we will still have to battle the Celtics in the NBA finals and this time we are going to have to hear about Kobe vs.Shaq and who has the better legacy, and how bad is it that Shaq is on the other side.
Of course the nice thing would be to three-peat and for Kobe to win his third straight Finals MVP, but the truth is if the Celtics win, then we are going to hear a bunch of crap for a LONG time. This attempt by Shaq to win a title was off limits the minute he signed with the Lakers as a free agent in 1996, every Laker great knows that, heck all Lakers know that. This is just a move you don't do.