By A. Sherrod Blakely
HOUSTON Shaquille O'Neal is back with the Boston Celtics, running up and down the floor as they prepare to face the Houston Rockets tonight.
But that's the extent of what he's going to be providing the Celtics right now.
Despite being with the team for this three-game road trip, coach Doc Rivers said he doesn't anticipate O'Neal will play in any of the three games.
"I doubt if he plays on this trip, but he's close enough," said Rivers. "When they get close, we always bring them on trips because of shoot-arounds, and he can be involved in stuff that we're doing."
O'Neal, who hasn't played for the C's since Jan. 21, is looking forward to being around the team more.
"Playing by yourself, doing sprints by yourself is different from being in a game," said O'Neal, who hopes to practice with the team early next week. "I haven't been able to simulate game-type situations yet. You can only do so much by yourself. The true test is when I get out there with the guys, banging and pushing and off-balance. We'll see from there."
A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn
BOSTON – Regardless of what the Celtics do in the offseason, there will always be position battles in training camp.
But when the players arrive in a few weeks, a handful will have more at stake than just a roster spot.
Boston currently has 18 players with full or partially guaranteed contracts, a number that has to be pared down to 15 or less by the time the regular season begins.
The math is pretty cut and dry. Barring a trade, at least three players have to be let go.
But who will they be?
That’s for Brad Stevens and the rest of the Celtics brass to figure out.
In the meantime, here’s a look at five Celtics who, barring a trade, are likely to be among the pool of players Boston will be picking from for what should be the last couple of roster spots.
New England fans will get their first glimpse at the 2016-2017 Boston Celtics when they kick off their preseason schedule on October 4 against the Philadelphia 76ers at UMass-Amherst’s Mullins Center.
That game will feature two of the top three picks in last month’s draft as Ben Simmons, the top overall pick, will face Jaylen Brown, who was drafted by the Celtics with the third overall pick.
Boston’s 7-game schedule features no back-to-back games, but they do face the Charlotte Hornets in their second and third preseason games on Oct. 6 (in Greensboro, N.C.) and Oct. 8 at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Here’s a look at Boston’s full preseason schedule:
DATE OPPONENT LOCATION TIME
Oct. 4 Philadelphia 76ers UMass-Amherst Mullins Center (Amherst, MA) 7:00 p.m. ET
Oct. 6 Charlotte Hornets Greensboro Coliseum (Greensboro, NC) 7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 8 Charlotte Hornets Mohegan Sun Arena (Uncasville, CT) 3:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 13 Brooklyn Nets Barclays Center (Brooklyn, NY) 7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 15 New York Knicks Madison Square Garden (New York, NY) 7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 17 Brooklyn Nets TD Garden (Boston, MA) 7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 19 New York Knicks TD Garden (Boston, MA) 7:30 p.m. ET