NBA Rumors: Shaq Close To Signing With Boston Celtics

Chris Grinstead@@everest4009Correspondent IAugust 4, 2010

CLEVELAND - MAY 11: Shaquille O'Neal #33 of the Cleveland Cavaliers gets in for in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 11, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. Boston won the game 120-88 to take a 3-2 series lead. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Free-agent center Shaquille O'Neal is reportedly in the midst of heavy contract negotiations with the Boston Celtics, the team that beat him out of the playoffs last year.

This deal is supposedly going to be finalized within a week or so, according to many media sources. Shaq is also quoted as saying that he hopes to make a decision about his future soon.

One main problem with the deal is that the Celtics can only offer Shaq the veteran minimum, $1.35 million for a veteran of at least 10 years.

That's where the Cleveland Cavaliers comes into play. If the Cavs would go along with it, they would be able to facilitate a sign-and-trade type deal with O'Neal. This type of negotiation would only need to take place if Shaq required more money to sign a deal.

Shaq had a $20 million contract last year with Cleveland and has accrued a total of almost $291 million in basketball contracts alone.

The only thing bringing down Shaq's asking price is the overall disinterest from the league regarding his free agency.

The only two teams that have ever really been negotiating with him are the Atlanta Hawks, who were the main front-runner to sign him until recently, and the Boston Celtics.

The Boston Celtics have a good reason to be interested in Shaq, as he has averaged 24 points and 11 rebounds per game in his 18 seasons in the NBA.

Kendrick Perkins, starting center for the Celtics, was injured in the playoffs and will miss the first part of the season, as well.

The main problem with this whole deal is that Shaq is going to slow down the Boston offense just like he did to Cleveland last year. Sadly, I don't think Boston has much of a choice, as they seem to be running out of options.

Another interesting thought is that if Shaq signs with the Celtics, they very well may end up meeting up against three of his past four teams in the playoffs. They may very well end up playing all of them if Cleveland can slip into the playoffs.

Shaq is running out of time to win another championship. This may just be the deal he needs to get it done.