I’ve been told that Atlanta wouldn’t budge on giving Shaq a starting nod over Al, who is after all still only 24-years old and an All-Star. Shaq believes he will get the starting nod over Jermaine O’Neal in Boston as Kendrick Perkins rehabs from his knee injury.Sound decision making, though, I have to deduct a couple of points for the answer not being "Because there's little reason to believe that Shaquille O'Neal will be more productive than Zaza Pachulia next season, taking minutes away from Horford, Josh Smith, and Pachulia would not lead to significant improvement, and we have far a more pressing concern in needing to improve our perimeter defense."
Atlanta also wasn’t willing to pay Shaq more than the minimum and that was a sticking point for him. He didn’t want to sign for the minimum when the Hawks had their bi-annual and mid-level exceptions available because of the perception that would create–as in the Hawks could have paid him more but didn’t. That’s not the case with Boston, which had neither of those exceptions and so could only give him the minimum.
The big guy still has his pride.
The latter point is clearly not a concern in-house. Cunningham also reports that the Hawks are looking at adding Francisco Elson, Brian Skinner, or Josh Boone to fill the 13th roster spot. Elson and Skinner would be marginal improvements over Jason Collins in the (apparently) crucial* third-string center role. Boone, at least, could reasonably be expected to outperform Josh Powell.
You may be asking, what about Garret Siler?
Well, Scott Schroeder of Ridiculous Upside makes the case for Siler:
Siler is probably the most obvious player to include on this list since Cunningham suggested there is "some interest" in the 6-foot-11, 300-plus pound big man out of Augusta State. Though Cunningham suggested that "he's got a lot to prove after a bad showing at Summer League," I'd like to counter that THE DUDE MADE 75% OF HIS SHOT ATTEMPTS AND PULLED DOWN 3.8 BOARDS IN JUST 14 MINUTES OF ACTION. I've been driving the Siler bandwagon for awhile, sure, but the kid deserves an opportunity. He has great size, soft hands, scores as efficiently as anyone and seems to be willing to do whatever it takes to get an opportunity - I mean, he runs the court very well for a guy his size.Siler is very efficient but because he's big and slow and can't create his own shot, he's not especially productive. And that's in NCAA Division 2 and the Chinese League. He did appear slimmer in Las Vegas and I'd rather the Hawks anchor the bench with Siler than Collins but he's probably not an untapped resource.
As for the other four names on Schroeder's list of non-retreads, I whole-heartedly support the idea of signing Pops Mensah-Bonsu or Alade Aminu (though I've still no reason to believe he's not going to play for Elan Chalon next season) while signing Chris Hunter or Kurt Looby would likely be, relative to Collins, Powell et al., more interesting though no more useful.
*Almost 5% of the Hawks' regular season games will be against Dwight Howard, after all.