The reality: Shaq is not going to Miami


shaq.jpgOf course Shaquille O’Neal wants to be in Miami — he likes to be in the middle of the circus (as one Heat source said in Vegas). And next season there will be no bigger circus, no bigger spotlight than Miami. Plus, they could use a center, so…

So what?

When Shaq left Miami last time, he took parting shots at Pat Riley. And Riley still runs the show there, he is the exec who just pulled off the impossible. You think the franchise will welcome Shaq and his ego back now? Our own Ira Winderman, the Heat beat writer for the Sun-Sentinel, heard and tweeted the same thing.

Can’t stop the chatter, but any Heat-Shaq interest being floated out there apparently is a one-way street coming from Shaq’s side.

Pat Riley coached during part of Shaq’s time in Miami and he had the cojones to stand up to Shaq — warned him stop talking about how the Lakers treated him, and to say nothing about Stan Van Gundy. Shaq was quiet.

Until he left. Then he slammed Riley, saying he sabotaged his time there, even saying the Heat did not give him proper medical treatment.

You think Riley forgets that? And for the record now, that is a bad breakup in Orlando, then Los Angeles, then Miami and… why do you want to bring him on to your contender again.

Shaq is a physically larger (much physically larger) version of Allen Iverson from last year — he wants more money and a larger role than his skills dictate any more. That could lead to a locker-room distraction.

Atlanta is rumored to have offered him the mid-level exception of $5.8 million for two years, but they want him to come off the bench. The Cavaliers are trying to use Shaq in a sign-and-trade to get Marvin Williams from the Hawks. Shaq is thinking about it. But he may not have any other options (the Spurs are not interested and Dallas got their big men).

And Miami is not going to happen.

Thabo Sefolosha found not guilty

Thabo Sefolosha
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Thabo Sefolosha clearly believed in his innocence.

The Hawks wing rejected a plea deal of only day of community service and six months probation. That probably would have been easier than a trial.

But Sefolosha opted to fight the charges – misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Today, he was vindicated.

Robert Silverman:

Sefolosha, who missed the playoffs due to a leg injury that seemingly occurred during his arrest, has made his case clear: New York police targeted him because he’s black. Given everything else we know about policing habits, that’s certainly believable.

We’ve also seen video of multiple officers literally pulling Sefolosha in different directions and one striking him in the leg with a nightstick. We don’t know what preceded that video, but especially given the information revealed at trial, it’s difficult to justify that use of force.

This verdict probably sets up Sefolosha’ to sue the NYPD.

Report: Some Hawks executives doubt Danny Ferry’s contrition

Danny Ferry, Mike Budenholzer
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Since his racist comments about Luol Deng, Danny Ferry has mostly avoided the public eye.

He apologized through a couple statements released around the beginning of his leave of absence. He met with black community leaders. He claimed “full responsibility.”

A cadre of NBA people vouched for him. A law firm the Hawks hired to investigate themselves essentially cleared of him of being motivated by racial bias.

But there’s another side.

Kevin Arnovitz and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Ferry’s efforts at contrition sometimes fell short to some inside the organization. Several Hawks executives were at times put off by Ferry’s behavior during a compulsory two-day sensitive training session, especially since they considered his actions triggered the assembly in the first place. He came across as inattentive and dismissive of the exercise, some said, and fiddled with his phone quite a bit. Ferry contends he was taking notes on the meeting.

“It was awkward for everyone because I had not seen or been around Hawks employees for three months,” Ferry told ESPN this summer about the sensitivity training. “I took the seminar seriously, participated in the role-play exercises and certainly learned from the two-day session.”

the Hawks satisfied Ferry on June 22 by releasing both the written Taylor report and a flowery press release in which Hawks CEO Koonin was quoted saying, among other things, that “Danny Ferry is not a racist.” Some Hawks executives grumbled that the team overreached in exonerating Ferry, but doing so — not to mention paying Ferry significantly more than the $9 million he was owed on his “golden ticket” deal — was the cost of moving on.

I don’t know whether Ferry has shown the proper level of contrition, whether he was playing on his phone or taking notes.

But I know what he said:

“He’s a good guy overall, but he’s got some African in him, and I don’t say that in a bad way other than he’s a guy that may be making side deals behind you, if that makes sense. He has a storefront out front that’s beautiful and great, but he may be selling some counterfeit stuff behind you.”

He was not reading directly from a scouting report. He did not stop when his paraphrasing repeated a racist trope.

That’s a problem.

I don’t think Ferry intended to say something racist – but he did.

It’s a fixable issue, though. Through introspection and a desire to change, he can learn from this mistake. Maybe he already has.

That some around him don’t think he took that process seriously is worth noting. They might be off base, and Ferry obviously disagrees with their perception. But this is a two-sided story despite the common narrative focusing on Ferry’s redemption.

It’ll be up to any potential future employers to sort through the discrepancies.