Is Shaq a possible replacement for Sheed?

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The Celtics are about to enter a very uncomfortable time in the life of a franchise. Their best produced roster, with four Hall of Famers (at least), a stunning young point guard, and a range of versatile bigs failed to win a championship. Ray Allen is a free agent. Paul Pierce will opt out. And Rasheed Wallace is retiring, leaving a gap down low.  So now they have to make the decision. Do they commit to a rebuilding effort? Or do they attempt to assemble one more ride into glory? 

The answer is simple. If you have the ability to ask that question, if the dread veil of rebuilding has not been shoved over your head, you take the last shot with the old crew. That’s what you do, because these windows realistically don’t come around very often.
And if making another crack at it means free agent bigs, the Boston Herald has a handful of suggestions that make sense. Brad Miller is one. Miller could work out of the high post, stretch the floor like Rasheed Wallace did, and can handle the ball from the pinch post to the Celtics’ cutters and slashers. 
But perhaps the most intriguing option is yet another of the most dominant big men the game has ever seen, though those days are far behind him. Shaquille O’Neal. A Celtic. Think about it. 
Shaq has suffered on younger, more athletic squads in Phoenix and Cleveland. He is always saying he wants to find a team that’s tough like the ones he used to be on (because, really, what says tough like Rick Fox and Mark Madsen). O’Neal can still contribute. He had some fine games in Cleveland. But in Boston, he would be a beast. He could mentor Glen Davis, and putting him low with Kevin Garnett pretty much assures no one is scoring at the rim, and if they do, they’re going to remember it in the morning. 
O’Neal wouldn’t be exposed in the Celtics’ offense. They routinely feed Kenrick Perkins in the post, despite him not being a great post player. He would feel among his peers, and be given the respect he feels he deserves, without being so starkly in the shadow of one current great as he was with LeBron.
And after all, if you can’t beat ’em, why not join ’em?

PBT Podcast: Derek Fisher fired, plus your trade questions from Twitter

Derek Fisher
Associated Press
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Derek Fisher is out as coach of the New York Knicks.

In this latest podcast, NBC Sports’ Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman discuss the odd timing of that move — we expect another shoe to drop as to why. It’s not that Fisher was a great coach, but replacing him with Kurt Rambis mid-season is not an upgrade. And Luke Walton isn’t available until this summer.

After struggling to figure out what the Knicks are thinking, Helin and Feldman answer questions off Twitter from readers/listeners on the coming trade deadline including discussions of Blake Griffin, Jeff Teague, the Pistons, the Jazz, the Knicks, and more.

As always, you can listen to the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunesdownload it directly here, or you can check out our new PBT Podcast homepage, which has the most recent episodes available. If you have the Stitcher app, you can listen there as well.

Warriors’ center Festus Ezeli to have knee surgery, out indefinitely

Golden State Warriors center Festus Ezeli, left, of Nigeria, looks to pass the ball as Denver Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, in Denver. Golden State won 118-105. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Associated Press
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Festus Ezeli has been a rock-solid backup for the Warriors this season, playing almost 18 minutes a night behind Andrew Bogut giving the team 7.5 points and 5.9 rebounds a contest. Golden State’s defense is 3.6 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court, and he’s part of the team’s long-term plans.

But he’s going to be out for a while now following knee surgery, the team announced and as reported by Monte Poole at CSNBayArea.com.

http://www.csnbayarea.com/warriors/festus-ezeli-undergo-knee-surgery

The surgery is exploratory, which is why the Warriors say there is no timeline for recovery yet.

The surgery is on his left knee; it was his right one that had reconstructive surgery and forced him to miss all of two seasons ago.

This is a blow to the Warriors’ depth, but little has slowed their march this season. More Mo Speights is not ideal, but the Warriors can just go small more often and run teams out of the building that way.

Ezeli is a restricted free agent this summer and the Warriors would like to keep him on the roster and expand his role, particularly if they do not retain Andrew Bogut. The severity of this knee injury could impact Ezeli’s ability to earn a big contract this summer, but hopefully for him, it’s not that serious.

Russell Westbrook stands behind Kevin Durant, mimics him during interview (video)

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, right, gestures after scoring as forward Kevin Durant stands by during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Los Angeles. The Thunder won 117-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Choose your spin.

This is why Kevin Durant is leaving the Thunder. Russell Westbrook doesn’t respect him.

or

This is why Kevin Durant is re-signing with the Thunder. He and Russell Westbrook have so much fun together.

Report: Magic open to talking Tobias Harris trade, looking to add experience

Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen (9) grabs the uniform of Orlando Magic forward Tobias Harris (12) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
AP Photo/Brandon Dill
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Tobias Harris signed a four-year, $64 million contract with the Magic just last summer.

Now, just 50 games later…

Marc Stein of ESPN:

I’m skeptical this is significant. Teams discuss trades for many players for a variety of reasons. That doesn’t mean the player is likely to be dealt.

Orlando in particular has a roster of players who cause significant debate about their value. It’s helpful to know what other teams think of Harris, and soliciting trade offers is a good method to learn his worth.

It’s more intriguing the Magic are looking to add experience. They should probably go the opposite route, but they’ve tried (and failed) for years to accelerate their rebuild. At 22-28 – four games and three teams from playoff position – now is not the time to seek shortcuts. Spend the rest of the season developing young players – and probably securing a higher draft pick in the process.

One of Harris’ best traits is his youth. He’s just 23. See what other teams would offer for him, sure. But, in all likelihood, it’s better to let him grow into the veteran Orlando needs rather than trading him for one when the rest of the team isn’t ready to win, anyway.

My guess is that’s what Orlando will do. Remember, always consider who has incentive to leak this information anonymously and what they’d be positioned to know.