Comcast SportsNet New England's A. Sherrod Blakely reports that Shaq is "close" to signing with the Boston Celtics. That report has also been confirmed by CBSSports.com's Ken Berger.
FanHouse was the first to report O'Neal interest in joining the Celtics last month.
Adding the future Hall of Fame center raises the Celtics' frontcourt to a higher level than last year, even after the retirement of Rasheed Wallace, especially considering the addition of Jermaine O'Neal. Even with Kendrick Perkins on the shelf until at least December, the C's boast a lineup of big, tough defenders that have the same veteran mindset as the rest of their Eastern Conference champion roster.
The question will be whether O'Neal can work effectively in pick-and-roll defense, which he was an abject disaster in last year, and if he can play as a complementary offensive player instead of a high-usage "Give me the ball and watch me work" type player, which he was at times last season. His per-36 numbers are actually really solid, especially in the context of players his age. O'Neal will need to stay healthy, with Perkins on the shelf and Jermaine O'Neal also an injury question mark. But in terms of the physical style Boston loves to play, this is a pretty good fit.
Either way, Boston gets deeper and older, and finally has its own big offseason acquisition. For all the talk of the leap the Heat made this offseason, Boston has made a clear statement that they don't plan on going anywhere.
(I'm going to spare you a "everything's coming up Green for Shaq" line, OK? OK. Good talk.)