Early in the free agency process, when it was still believed that LeBron James was a real option, the Knicks had Shaquille O'Neal high on their list of other free agents to add to the roster. Before tonight's preseason game against the Celtics, O'Neal acknowledged that he spoke with Mike D'Antoni about coming to New York.
Shaq said he was open to the idea of coming to Broadway.
"Me and Mike, we've always had personal, intricate conversations," said Shaq, who did not dress for the game. "[The Knicks] said there was interest, I said there was interest, but at the end I chose Boston."
In the end the Knicks also decided to not pursue it because once LeBron was off the table, Plan B involved getting younger.
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* - Without Shaq in the lineup, Timofey Mozgov -- "What Russian guy?" Shaq said, "I don't know who he is." -- will get the start against Jermaine O'Neal.
Mike D'Antoni said before the game he will keep Amar'e Stoudemire's minutes under control in an effort to keep his legs as fresh as possible for the start of the season. He even might skip one of the remaining preseason games, especially with a busy schedule ahead this weekend, with back-to-back games (Saturday against the Celtics in Hartford, Sunday at the Garden against the Wizards) and then another back-to-back next week (Tuesday against the Nets at the Garden and Wednesday at Philadelphia).
* - I chatted with Nate Robinson for a bit before the game. He has found a home in Boston, but still keeps tabs on the Knicks because he still has two close friends in Wilson Chandler and Eddy Curry on the roster.
"When it was me, David and Chandler, us three came in and spent three years with each other and we said, 'We lasted this long, what's another 10 years? . . . And now everybody's gone."
Doc Rivers raved about Robinson's effort so far in the preseason and said the playoff experience from last season's run to Game 7 of the NBA Finals benefited him the most of any player on the roster.