Ainge was asked flatly if he is convinced Shaq won’t again play in the league.
“Oh, I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know. I would not say that.
“I mean, hopefully Shaq can get his body healthy and then reconsider.”
Ainge then paused and added, “I can tell you that even if he’s still out when we start next year, he’s a guy I’ll be making a phone call to at some time during the season.
“But I believe what he’s saying now is real.”
Yeah… what he's saying "NOW".
I'm telling you, there's no way he's done. He's going to take an extended break, join a team after the all star break, use a little of time to get acclimated and have a "pre-season", and then play. He looked REALLY comfortable about everything in his goodbye news conference…. which might mean he's just at ease with it or he knows he'll be back.
Side note: The news conference was awesome. Perfectly done. Some ego… some self-deprecation….some humor…some honesty. Great stuff. He thanked Doc and Phil Jackson specifically (and no other coaches) and he said he did this now to give Danny Ainge a chance to move on. He didn't want to hang around too long and handcuff the C's.