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