Shaquille O’Neal signs with Celtics for 19th NBA season

By Howard Ulman, AP
Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Celtics sign 15-time All-Star Shaquille O’Neal

BOSTON — The Big Three of the Boston Celtics are now a Very Big Four.

The Eastern Conference champions signed 7-foot-1, 325-pound Shaquille O’Neal on Wednesday, adding the 15-time All-Star to a team needing his size with center Kendrick Perkins recovering from knee surgery that could sideline him until February.

The deal with the free agent center is for two years and about $3 million, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said on condition of anonymity because no details were released.

O’Neal joins the other three big names — Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen — on a team that went to the seventh game of the NBA finals before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers. Since then, Boston signed center-forward Jermaine O’Neal.

Point guard Rajon Rondo will also be coming off an outstanding postseason.

“I am honored to be joining the Celtics,” O’Neal said in a statement issued by the club. “I have played against Paul, Ray, Kevin, Rajon, and Jermaine for many years and it will be great to be able to call them my teammates. I cannot wait to get to Boston to get started in pursuit of another championship.”

The Celtics won their NBA-high 17th championship in 2008. O’Neal has won four NBA titles.

“It is not every day that you can add a player of Shaquille’s caliber to your team,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in the statement. “His past experience speaks for itself and we believe that he is a great fit for our roster.”

After the season, the Celtics re-signed Pierce for four seasons and Allen for two and signed Jermaine O’Neal for two. Garnett also has two years left on his deal.

Shaq, the top pick in the 1992 draft by Orlando, averaged 12.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 53 games for Cleveland last season.

He is the fifth leading scorer in NBA history with 28,255 career points and is 14th in rebounds with 12,921. He has averaged 24.1 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.

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