Nobody wants Shaq, summer league awards, and Magic wouldn’t have done that either

Sounds like Shaquille O’Neal feels he’s worth more to an organization these days than the market would dictate.  According to Marc Stein yesterday, its down to the ATL for the Big Fella, but even they are only willing to pay about a third of what O’Neal’s asking for:

“The Mavericks have abandoned the idea of a Shaq signing completely — “He is out,” according to one team source…Atlanta, then, stands as the only team with a confirmed “live” interest in O’Neal. But Shaq, at last report, still wants assurances of a healthy slice of playing time as well as a salary that starts above the $5.8 million mid-level exception, which can be achieved through a sign-and-trade with Cleveland. No team out there, including Atlanta, is known to be willing to pay Shaq more than $2 million for next season.”

It’ll be interesting to see if this drives Shaq into retirement, or if he relents in his salary demands and ends up playing next year after all.  As far as last season goes, Shaq did play well for a stretch, and who knows how things would’ve turned out for both him and the Cavaliers had he not gone down with that thumb injury late.  But he did go down with that injury, and never really re-gained his form after that.  As far as the Cavaliers go, I’d be fine with him playing out next season in Cleveland for that $2 million number, but if the Cavs over-pay to keep Shaq here next season, that would be disappointing.  What’s also interesting is you can’t help but wonder if the amount of bridges Shaq’s burned throughout the years are now coming back to hurt his efforts for one last contract in the twilight of his career.  I imagine the Heat would’ve been an attractive option for him, but unfortunately for O’Neal he called Chris Bosh the ”RuPaul of Bigmen” about twenty times publicly, so I’d say Bosh would not consider Shaq the “fam” that LeBron considers Undonis Haslem.  We’ll see what happens from here though, and more on this as it develops.

Summer League Standouts:

J.J. Hickson, a guy that started 60 regular season games for the Cavaliers last season, recently put together a solid summer league out in Vegas pitted against rookies and free agents trying to play their way into a contract.  I don’t mean to discount his efforts, and frankly I think it’s great that J.J.’s humble enough to both compete in Vegas at a high level, as well as works towards getting better, but it’s not necessarily suprising.  What was a suprise to most observers though, was the play of Cavaliers’ guard Pooh Jeter, who put up good numbers running the point, as well as hitting a key basket to win a game for Cleveland. 

Both players were named as Second Team all Vegas League selections by Real GM.com, who offered the following on each player:

G – Pooh Jeter, Cleveland

Jeter didn’t have a bad game and didn’t take many bad shots either. His range is iffy at times, but he’s a lock to at the very least be one of the final players in Cleveland’s training camp.


F – J.J. Hickson, Cleveland

Hickson was one of top two of three offensive players in Las Vegas, but his defense and rebounding still need considerable work. At times it was obvious why the Cavs wouldn’t deal him (34 & 9 against the Suns), but then he’d play Swiss cheese defense and lose a handful of rebounds.

Hopefully JJ continues to work on that “Swiss cheese defense,” because his offensive production will be imperative this season.  It will also be fun to watch how far Pooh Jeter gets in his quest for a roster spot, and we’ll be keeping an eye on him around here through the process.

Magic on The Decision:

While we all heard what MJ had to say about LeBron’s flight to MIA over the weekend, and probably what Bird said too, you can now add Magic Johnson to that list of former greats who said recently that he’d have rather beat Bird then joined him. 

From Magic on the idea of teaming up with Bird or Mike Jordan:

“We didn’t think about it ’cause that’s not what we were about. From college, I was trying to figure out how to beat Larry Bird.  It was never a question in our mind because nobody has ever done that.”

If only LeBron would’ve went to Akron and played Marquette in the tourney I suppose, maybe they never would’ve become bff’s.

Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of StepienRules.com. I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine, Cleveland.com, BleacherReport.com, InsideFacebook.com and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.

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