Shaquille O’Neal addressed his free agency, which apparently included a large offer from the Detroit Pistons, in an interview with John Reid of the The Times Picayune (hat tip: Mike Payne of Detroit Bad Boys):
As a free agent this summer, what were all the factors you considered before deciding to sign with the Celtics?
Atlanta was cool, but they don’t have a lot of national television games. But Boston, with Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, I said we can do it. A lot of people said I only got the league minimum salary, but that’s all right. I’m the luckiest guy in the world. I’ve had four max contracts in one lifetime, I don’t care about that little million. Did I want $10 million? I’m always going to put the number high. I could have gotten $8 million from Atlanta and Detroit, but it wasn’t about that. It was about being somewhere and being seen and winning.
I’m not sure if this is true or Shaq embellishing. There were no reports (that I saw) mentioning Shaq as a Piston target, but I discussed the idea as a hypothetical.
Update: I’ve seen Shaq’s claim disputed because the Pistons didn’t have $8 million in cap room. Well, neither did the Hawks, but they offered him a two-year contract, according to Tim Povtak of AOL FanHouse. The Pistons easily could have done the same.