Danny did it. He signed the Big Shamrock, The Big Shillelagh, The Big Leprechaun, The Big Dig, The Big Chowdah, The Big Baked Bean, Leprezilla. Whatever he picks as his Boston nickname, he is big, both in size and personality. There are differing opinions as to whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. I personally think it's a good thing. He gives us depth in the middle, which the Celtics needed. He gives us size and he gives us motivation. When we play Miami, Orlando, Cleveland, Fakers, Phoenix... you name it, Shaq is going to want to get his vengeance on his old teams. He won't be needed to play a big role on this team or to carry them. It is the ideal situation for him. His limited role will allow him to be fresher and stronger in the minutes he is on the court.
Much has been made of the age of the Celtics. I've already read all the old jokes. The AARP Team. Geritol is their sponsor. The 2000 All Star Team. You name it. But it's funny how facts don't get in the way of peoples' perception. The Celtics aren't the oldest team in the league. The Fakers are the oldest team in the league. The Celtics have an average age of 28.6 while the Fakers have an average age of 30.0. With Jermaine O'Neal at center, the Celtics starting 5 are older than the Fakers, but replace JO with Perk and the Celtics and Fakers both have a starting 5 averaging 30.4 years of age. The Celtics have 6 players 30 years of age or older while the Fakers have 9. And the Heat aren't all that much younger than the Celtics, either. The Heat has an average age of 28.1 and they have 7 players 30 or older on their roster. And these figures include a 36 year old Sheed who will more than likely be replaced by a younger player at some point in the season. So, stop with the old jokes already.
Matt Janning has signed a multi-year contract with the Phoenix Suns. He was impressive while playing for the Celtics' Summer League team. Danny was impressed enough to ask him to stay on to complete the week instead of going to Vegas to join the Suns Summer League entry. Danny also gave him an invite to the Celtics training camp. But the Suns were impressed enough with him to offer him a multi-year contract. He is a nice player and would have been a nice addition with the future in mind, but I just don't see how the Celtics would have room for him this season. So, he was wise to take the sure thing over a possible spot with the Celtics.
I've been thinking about the Heat and their 3 amEgos and the officiating. We know that the refs favor certain players and give them ridiculously favorable calls- no more so than LeJerk, who averaged just 1.6 fouls a game last year in spite of the fact that the majority of his game consisted of dipping his shoulder and bulling his way to the hoop, leaving a path of carnage in his wake. Of every player in the league, LeJerk got the biggest breaks from the refs. And when they actually did call his fouls, he whined and cried and pitched major fits, which of course did not result in the technical foul that any other player would have gotten. Dwyane Wade also got his share of star calls over the the season. Bosh didn't benefit from the start treatment as much as his two cohorts did (maybe because he isn't a real star?), but it's possible that in the new Miami Thrice, he will suddenly be given that star treatment as well. If the refs insist on giving all three players ridiculously biased calls, it would mean a huge advantage for them. However, if Herr Stern rightly realizes the black eye that LeJerk's "decision" gave the league and sees that he gets the same treatment as any other mortal star, LeJerk could be in trouble because I'm not sure he knows how to play without getting insanely one sided calls go his way.
Something that I have known for a long time and that I have stated many times has now been proven by a study in Forbes Magazine. The Celtics have the best fans in all of basketball. And, they have the 7th best fans in all of sports. Many of the fans I interact with on a regular basis have been Celtics fans since the 60's and even the 50's. And, even the younger fans have a sense of Celtics history and Celtics Pride. I love the Celtics community and am very proud to be counted among the many fans I "meet" through the various boards and blogs around the internet. We know now for sure, Celtics fans are the BEST!!
The Celtics roster is shaping up nicely. The addition of Shaq is huge (pun intended). But, Danny isn't done yet. He still has Sheed's contract to use as a chip to bring in another quality player, more than likely another back up wing. I also see him signing Luke Harangody who impressed enough in Summer League to warrant a rookie contract. I'm really getting anxious for the season now. I have a very good feeling that we get Banner 18 this season.