Chris Forsberg reported a little while back that Shaquille O’Neal actually told Danny Ainge not to trade center Kendrick Perkins. Here is the full story:
Retired Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal, back in Louisiana this past week for an unveiling of a statue in his honor on the campus of LSU, dropped a little bombshell while talking with The Times Picayune. O’Neal suggests he told Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to not trade Kendrick Perkins due to lingering concerns about his own health.
This is not much of a surprise considering even Shaq knew himself that his body was breaking down on him and his health was in question. Here is some more from Shaq:
“At 39, I wasn’t mentally on the down slope. But I used to feel really terrible after scoring eight points. This ain’t me, the Diesel scoring eight points. My mind was on winning the whole thing, and we had a chance to get the second spot [in the Eastern Conference], and we ended up getting the fourth spot. I even told Danny Ainge not to do the Kendrick Perkins deal with Oklahoma City. I told them I might not be ready, and I’m definitely not coming back. Those guys did what they’ve got to do. I wasn’t surprised; I’ve seen it before. They say all that blah, blah, but you know it’s always going to be something different.”
Shaq also thinks the Celtics could have won a title if he was a healthy and talks about the Achilles injury that left him unable to contribute late in the season.
“I’m so used to playing at a high level, and I hated reading articles of me playing at a regular level. When you get a certain age, a lot of people really don’t know what you can do. I just had to play a role, and I wasn’t comfortable with that. I truly believe that if I didn’t get injured, we (Celtics) would have beaten Miami, and we could have beaten Dallas. Usually when it’s really a bad injury, you get one (cortisone) shot, and then you feel better and play. But I got shot after shot, and I was scared to get an MRI. I knew my Achilles’ tendon was ripped the whole time. I did everything from acupuncture, cortisone and therapy. It felt good when I initially came back, but I ripped it some more.”