- Associated Press - Friday, February 25, 2011

DENVER (AP) - The Boston Celtics unloaded lots of big men at the NBA trading deadline and the key to making sure the moves pay off rests with the biggest guy who’s still left _ Shaquille O'Neal.

“If Shaq plays great, then this deal was obviously really, really good for us,” coach Doc Rivers said of O’Neal, who’s dealing with a sore Achilles’ tendon. “That’s on Shaq. Getting Shaq in great shape, getting him ready, getting him healthy is really going to be important for us.”

Already atop the Eastern Conference, the Celtics made three deals Thursday.

In addition to sending Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic and a future first-round pick, Boston also traded Luke Harangody and Semih Erden to Cleveland, and dealt Marquis Daniels to Sacramento, for draft picks.

“The bottom line is we’ll see,” Rivers said before a game Thursday night with Denver, another team that reshuffled its roster by sending Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to the New York Knicks earlier in the week.

“We think we did pretty well,” Rivers said. “Red (Auerbach) would always say, ‘Whatever the single best player is in the trade, try to get it.’”

There were a lot of teams trying to do that before Thursday’s deadline.

Baron Davis and a 2011 first-round draft pick went from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Mo Williams and forward Jamario Moon, and Aaron Brooks’ tumultuous season in Houston ended when the guard was dealt to Phoenix for Goran Dragic and a first-round pick.

The Rockets also traded Shane Battier and Ish Smith to Memphis for Hasheem Thabeet, DeMarre Caroll and a future first-round pick, and the Charlotte Bobcats sent Gerald Wallace to Portland for Joel Przybilla, Dante Cunningham, Sean Marks and conditional 2011 and 2013 draft picks.

“Our goal is to win a championship,” Houston general manager Daryl Morey said. “These moves position us better in the future. The big move that helps us now and in the future did not materialize, but we feel like this positions us better to make that move down the road.”

The Celtics believe they’ll be better, too, if they can get O'Neal back on the court.

Perkins recently returned from a knee injury he sustained in Game 6 of the NBA finals and had been playing well inside. He was close to his teammates, who took the news of the trade hard.

“Tough day to play basketball. Very tough day to play basketball, to even concentrate,” Kevin Garnett said after an 89-75 loss to the Nuggets. “Just being bluntly honest.

“We were taught that from the minute we got here _ that (chemistry) was the formula that works. We’ve been able to be successful with that formula. The chemistry on the court is nothing like the chemistry off the court.”

Paul Pierce said the team was “hurt” over the trade involving Perkins, but trusting that president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and Rivers “know what they’re doing.”

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