By Philip Kay
With Brad Miller signing a 3 year 15 million dollar contract with the Houston Rockets, the Bulls are left without a quality backup center. Though Omer Asik could turn into a solid NBA player, chances are he’s not ready to take on big minutes this year. Options such as Kurt Thomas have been discussed, but no other remaining free agent could have as big of an impact as Shaq. Shaq’s options are diminishing with Atlanta stating they have no interest in signing him and Dallas already having Brendan Haywood and Tyson Chandler at the center position.
If Shaq really wants to continue playing, it appears as if he’d have to accept taking on a lesser role. By joining the Bulls, Shaq might still end up seeing a fair amount of starts. With Boozer’s injury history,O’Neal could end up getting more playing time here in Chicago than anywhere else in the case where Boozer misses a large portion of games. The Bulls could simply slide Noah to the power forward position and bring Shaq in at center, keeping that low post presence in the starting 5. Also, whenever Noah were to get into foul trouble, especially in crucial situations such as the playoffs, Shaq could step in and provide solid minutes. The Bulls should not rely on Kurt Thomas and Omer Asik to bring it in those situations. For the same reasons Cleveland brought in O’Neal, the Bulls could definitely use him against Dwight Howard’s big body. Noah still had trouble with Howard in the regular season, despite his great off-season.
He might not be the old Shaq, but his presence is still felt. He still shot 57% from the floor and provided solid rebounding numbers for the playing time he saw. Now the level of interest Shaq has in this situation is unclear, but the Bulls are interested as they are currently in talks with him along with Kurt Thomas, Jason Williams, and Matt Barnes.