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Momma knows best and Shaquille O’Neal’s mom Lucille says the 39-year-old center could be back in green next season. Last season, the future Hall-of-Fame center signed a one-year deal with Boston that had a player option for a second year. Celtics GM Danny Ainge said it was likely that the Celtics big man, who missed most of the season with multiple injuries was likely to retire, but Mrs. O’Neal thinks differently.
“He went there to help them win a championship, and they didn’t do that this year,’’ Lucille told the The Times Picayune. “It bothered him so much that he could not play. He felt like he let the Boston team down and the community down, so I could believe he’s going back to Boston.’’
The Celtics were ousted from the playoffs in rough fashion by the Miami Heat in a series that Shaq played the most minutes he had since late February. The 4-time NBA Champion has made it clear that he wants another ring before he retires, so maybe there could be one last run in that big ol’ beat up body.
If Shaq does return, what exactly can be expected of the 19-year NBA veteran? He’s faced an assortment of injuries in his last few seasons and has trouble staying on the court. Those injuries limited O’Neal’s production in the 2010-2011 season. He averaged only 9.2 points and a mere 4.8 rebounds per game, both career lows.
In the playoffs, the injury trouble was more apparent. He played only 12 minutes in two games for a 1.0 scoring average and he didn’t pull down one board. His hurt Achilles and calf were crippling enough that it ended his return to action quickly and forced him to sit out of Game 5 of the Heat series(the final game of the Celtics season).
“It’s tough for me to see him hurt; it’s tough for me to see him get beat up in the paint,’’ Shaq’s mother Lucille said. “Throughout his career he has been beat up.
Retirement may still be in the cards this offseason for the 15-time NBA All-Star. If that’s the case, Momma Shaq will still support her giant son, saying:
“We’ve always told him that’s up to him. Whatever decision he makes, we’re still going to be behind him 100 percent.”
The allure of a fifth ring and an 18th championship for the Celtics franchise may be enough to force the 3-time NBA Finals MVP to try to push through another NBA season. The only problem with this whole way of thinking is that the Celtics have a lot they need to do if they expect to be a true contender for the Larry O’Brien Trophy next season. The Heat, Bulls, Hawks and Knicks will all be improved and the Eastern Conference will be tougher and more importantly, younger. Also consider that there may be an NBA lockout that could almost force Shaq into retirement.
If Shaq comes back or if he doesn’t, Boston was lucky to be one of six teams he played for and although we only saw him for 39 total games, we should appreciate them.
Follow Brian Moller on Twitter: @Brian_Moller