The Boston Celtics have signed center Shaquille O’Neal but this is not the year 2000 and the folks at Sportsbetting.com (see odds here) really don’t think Shaq will have much of an impact. Odds of the Celtics winning the 2011 NBA Championship were still long at 10/1. Remember, this is a team that took it down to the wire in this year’s finals. But alas, everyone is focused on the “super team” Miami Heat.
The NBA offseason has been very NFL-like in the sense that basketball betting fans haven’t stopped talking about the league, the offseason movement and the start of the next season since this one ended. Enter the next piece of news.
On Wednesday, the Boston Celtics signed veteran center Shaquille O’Neal to a two-year, $3 million contract. The 38-year-old center will bring some much-needed front-court depth for the Celtics, which were clearly lacking it in the NBA finals when betting handicappers saw them lose to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The addition of The Big Aristotle is just the latest in a string of quiet, offseason moves that Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge has executed. The Celtics re-signed Paul Pierce, then Marquis Daniels and Nate Robinson as well. They also brought in Jermaine O’Neal to add an inside presence.
The sportsbook odds makers still rate the Celtics among the best in the East, especially after how they handled Orlando in the 2010 NBA Playoffs and the fact that the Cleveland Cavaliers have fallen off. But the Miami Heat figure to rise and the Celtics are hoping that they have enough ammo to challenge them.
It’s possible, but the Celtics are a boom-or-bust team. NBA betting sharps know that they are old and by bringing in Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal, they aren’t getting younger. On top of that, Kendrick Perkins tore his ACL in the playoffs and is out for six months.
The Celtics do have a better point guard than the Heat and hopefully more depth, but whether they have enough talent – or the right talent – will have to be determined in the 2011 NBA playoffs.
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