Some of the Cavaliers' chemistry was lost last season when Zydrunas Ilgauskas was pushed aside. And it's not as if LeBron summoned Shaq to Miami (instead, he summoned Ilgauskas).
It certainly did not end with an embrace in Phoenix, where Steve Nash relished the opportunity to again regain control of the pace.
And Shaq left Miami muttering about the "wonder boy" allowances Dwyane Wade had been granted by management.
Yet the addition of Shaq provides Boston with unmatched length in the Eastern Conference, the self-proclaimed original NBA Superman adding to what is viewed as the kryptonite to a potential undoing of Pat Riley's perimeter-oriented creation in South Beach.
At the start of the season, there will be the length of Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O'Neal, the bulk of Shaq and Big Baby.
At midseason, Perkins would be added to that mix.
But also don't overstate the mass in the middle. To play more than two of those five together would mean forsaking Pierce, Rondo or Ray Allen. And those three remain the heart of Rivers' rotation.
By getting back to at least a conference championship series, a place he hasn't been since winning the 2006 title in Miami, Shaq might have positioned himself for the graceful exit he was unable to produce at LeBron's side.
But if it ends short of that goal, as a part-time player, amid Sixth Man Award humor, then this end game well might play out like an end game nearly a decade earlier in Orlando.
As in the year Ewing played in a uniform that featured shiny stars, dwindling statistics and an unbecoming view from the bench.
Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Y! Sports: For Roy Hibbert, a sense of ownership means knowing he should have fought to get in the game with two seconds remaining in overtime, when his absence allowed LeBron James to hit the winning lay-up.
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