The early report on Wednesday that Shaquille O'Neal signed with the Celtics turned out to be true, with the team announcing the deal via Twitter in the late afternoon.
"It's official: Shaquille O'Neal has signed with the Celtics," the team wrote on its official Twitter page. "The Big Shamrock will wear [No.] 36."
There was some question as to whether or not Shaq would be willing to pay for the veteran's minimum, which is about $1.4 million. In signing the contract, it appears as though he's not joking about his desire to win a fifth NBA championship.
O'Neal talked about the respect he has for his new teammates.
"I am honored to be joining the Celtics," O'Neal said in a release. "I have played against Paul [Pierce], Ray [Allen], Kevin [Garnett], Rajon [Rondo] and Jermaine [O'Neal] for many years and it will be great to be able to call them my teammates. I cannot wait to get to Boston to get started in pursuit of another championship."
"It is not every day that you can add a player of Shaquille's caliber to your team," Ainge said in the statement. "His past experience speaks for itself and we believe that he is a great fit for our roster."
O'Neal played in 53 regular-season games for the Cavaliers last year. He missed significant time due to a bad thumb injury, which came from Celtics forward Glen Davis, who coincidentally was nicknamed "Baby Shaq" at LSU. O'Neal averaged 23.4 minutes, 12 points and 6.7 rebounds per game — all career lows.
In 11 playoff games, he averaged 22.1 minutes, 11.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game as the Cavs were eliminated by the Celtics in the second round.