Chris Forsberg mentioned a very interesting article from December of 2009 that talked about Shaq's relationship with Delonte. Bringing in two players who were teammates on a different team, you always wonder what kind of relationship those players had on their previous team, especially with Delonte's struggles last season. Here is a quote from that 2009 article that gives us an answer to how their relationship was on the Cavs:
So he's at a different stage, one where his biggest contributions often happen when he doesn't have the ball. For example, when teammate Delonte West had personal issues and legal trouble last offseason, he soon found himself being constantly pulled aside by a 7-foot-1, 300-whatever-pound counselor who took particular interest in helping someone in need.
West is taking a low public profile this season, refusing all interviews. But when he learned the topic was Shaq, there were some strong thoughts West wanted to share, that he needed to share.
"This is about Shaq?" he asked.
About Shaq, yes.
"Well then, you need to know something. He's like a big brother for me right now, as far as everything that's going on in my life. Just seeing how he handles things is an inspiration to me. This is someone who has been around the world. He gives me advice every day. He'll lay down and die for you, and that's my type of guy. He's an amazing person, someone I can't even begin to describe. A big influence in my life."
That's great news. I'm sure Shaq will continue to mentor Delonte and help him if he struggles. I'm sure he joined Rondo and Pierce in encouraging Danny to sign him also. With a support system already in place for him and a familiar system, this may be the perfect place for Delonte to get his life and career back on track. If he does, he will be a huge part of the Celtics championship drive this season.
And speaking of Shaq. I watched a clip of his Shaq vs show where he was dancing against Justin Beiber and he looks to be in very good shape. We haven't heard of him training or working out as we have other players, but he obviously is staying in good shape. Last season, Sheed came into camp out of shape and never got into basketball shape throughout the season. Shaq, on the other hand, looks great! And reports out of Joe Abunassar's camp in Vegas are that Jermaine O'Neal is in great shape as well. I can't wait for the season to start!!
And speaking of former Celtics who played on the Cavs, Leon Powe is reporting that his knee is 100% and he can squat 275 pounds. I'm really happy for him, although I wish he was still with the Celtics. Leon deserves some good luck after all he has been through. He is good people and I will always cheer for him, no matter what team he is on. I know it's a business and Danny made a business decision, but not signing Leon was not a very nice thing to do to a guy who gave all he had to this team. Anyway, I'm glad he is healthy again and I hope he does well. Maybe, like Delonte, he will eventually come back to the Celtics.
Just a random thought about the jersey numbers for next season. Delonte is now being listed as #13, which Von Wafer had claimed when he was first signed. Wafer has been switched to #12. Both Wafer and Delonte have worn #13 in the past and Wafer had been listed as #13 after being signed. It will be interesting to see which player actually ends up with Shelden Williams' vacated number.
I've been more interested in watching Turkey's games in the FIBA championship since Rondo left the USA team. Don't get me wrong, I'm still watching Team USA and cheering for them, but I'm also enjoying watching the Celtics rookie on the Turkish team play. But, who am I kidding? It's basketball and watching some live games is a break from watching all the taped Celtics games I usually watch over the offseason.
I just can't wait for this season to begin. I love the feel of the team Danny has put together this summer. We have a nice mix of veterans and young players. And the bench is the deepest that I can remember. There is just one spot I am worried about and that is backing up Pierce. I think Quisy can be a great back up and will be all that we need at that spot, but can he stay healthy? I think at this point I'd rather see Tony Gaffney win that 15th spot over Von Wafer. Wafer is just guaranteed $150,000 and so cutting him wouldn't be a stretch. Gaffney gives us another long defender behind Pierce. Wafer duplicates a lot of what we would get from Delonte but isn't as good, in my opinion. Training camp is almost here. Anyone else getting very excited?