Celtics close to signing Shaq

Shaquille O’Neal(notes) is close to signing with the Boston Celtics, an NBA source told Yahoo! Sports.

O’Neal, 38, could help fill the Celtics’ void at center. Starter Kendrick Perkins(notes) is expected to be sidelined until January after having surgery on his right knee and Rasheed Wallace(notes) has indicated he’s retiring.

The Celtics have already signed Jermaine O’Neal(notes), who can play either center or power forward. If Shaquille O’Neal is added, the Celtics will have a big – and deep – frontline that also includes Kevin Garnett(notes), Glen Davis(notes) and rookies Luke Harangody(notes) and former second-round pick Semih Erden(notes).

The addition of both O’Neals also gives the Celtics insurance if Perkins and Garnett continue to have problems with their knee injuries.

Shaquille O’Neal averaged 12.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 53 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers last season. He told reporters in Orlando on Tuesday that he hoped to make a decision on his future in the “next one or two days.”

Shaquille O’Neal hinted at his interest in playing for Boston during an appearance on the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” show on Monday.

“Celtics would be a good program,” he said.

Comcast SportsNet New England first reported the Celtics nearing a deal with Shaquille O’Neal.

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Updated Tuesday, Aug 3, 2010