Shaq: Heat have a great 'Big 2'

191544.jpg

Shaq: Heat have a great 'Big 2'

MIAMI (AP) -- Shaquille O'Neal's debut as a full-fledged NBA analyst had him raving about LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

As for Chris Bosh?

Apparently, Shaq's not a big fan of his work.

During NBA TV's show Tuesday to announce the league's schedule for the 2011-12 season - one jeopardized by a lockout - O'Neal referred to the Heat as having a "Big 2." Since Bosh, Wade and James teamed up in Miami, they've been called the "Big 3" in many circles.

"The Miami Heat, they've got a lot of great players, the Big 2.' They will be back," O'Neal said from Louisiana during the broadcast, when discussing the NBA finals and how Dallas was able to beat Miami for the title. "LeBron James is taking a lot of criticism, but I know LeBron very well. He hears everything that everyone is saying, so I think he's going to come back and have an MVP year this year."

After the discussion turned to O'Neal's health and his decision to retire, the talk was steered back to his "Big 2" comment.

O'Neal laughed off the notion that a controversy was already getting started.

"Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, you know, they're great players, they're probably the greatest backcourt ever assembled," O'Neal said. "And you know, they're going to get back. They're going to get back. They play well, they went through a lot, they put a lot of pressure on themselves. That's how they like it. And they will be back."

O'Neal was a teammate of James and Wade in the past. Wade and O'Neal were starters for Miami's 2006 NBA championship team.

He said he expects the Los Angeles Lakers, the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic and the Heat to have strong seasons but suggested an "underdog" will emerge as the next NBA champion.

"There's a lot of great teams out there," O'Neal said.

-- Tim Reynolds, Associated Press

Report: Clippers' Griffin willing to consider Celtics in free agency

Report: Clippers' Griffin willing to consider Celtics in free agency

With all attention focused on overtaking the Cavs for the No. 1 seed in the East, the offseason -- trades, the draft, free agency -- is on the backburner in Celtics Nation these days.

But that pot's still simmering,

And it began to boil a little today when Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding, in the middle of a story on the Clippers being at a crossroad, threw a little accelerant on that old Blake Griffin-to-Boston flame . . .

But more and more people around the league believe he would be open to a fresh start — perhaps with the Lakers or the Boston Celtics, who have coveted Griffin for years and would offer a new chance to win. The most intriguing fit might be if he were to go home to Oklahoma to join Russell Westbrook and the Thunder, but his interests in the entertainment industry make staying in Los Angeles a priority.

Not much of a thread to grab there. But that didn't prevent cbssports.com's James Herbert from looking into it . . .  

Jumping to another contender on a max contract might not be simple. As CelticsBlog’s Keith P. Smith pointed out, Boston would have to dump Terry Rozier, waive Tyler Zeller and renounce all its free agents, including Kelly Olynyk, Jonas Jerebko and Amir Johnson, in order to even get near the amount of cap room that would be required to offer Griffin or someone like Gordon Hayward a max deal. 

Then again, Herbert says the Lakers and Thunder, Griffin's supposed other two destination spots, are even less financially flexible than the C's.

For now, it's all just a temporary diversion from the battle for No. 1.

It's also a reminder, though, that a whole new season -- the offseason -- is just around the corner.

5 reasons the Celtics will get the No. 1 seed

celtics_brad_stevens_111516.jpg

5 reasons the Celtics will get the No. 1 seed

Click here for the gallery.