Shaquille O’Neal made $20 million last season. He’s actually made at least that since 2001.
Right now, he can’t get an offer for more than $2 million, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.
There were reports of Atlanta offering him the mid-level exception of two years at $5.8 million, but we learned during Summer League that rumor came out of Shaq’s camp, not the team. In fact, if you’ve heard a rumor about Shaq to a team, assume it came out of Shaq’s camp.
Teams are lukewarm on him. Not that he can’t play a little — he is still a big body, shot 56 percent last season and gave the Cavaliers 18 points and 10 boards a game. His PER was 17.9.
There is a role for him on an NBA team, but team’s don’t think he wants to fit in that role. He still wants to be a key player, he wants quality minutes and touches. And more than the veteran minimum money.
It’s what Allen Iverson revisited in a bigger body. Last season he was brought in to Memphis to play a role, but he disrupted the team on and off the court until they bought him out. Philadelphia gave him another chance ad things went worse. Right now, Iverson is getting less interest around the league than Shaq.
Shaq is going to latch on somewhere. Not Miami — remember he burned every bridge in that city (and there are a lot of them) when he left town the first time. Pat Riley was not bringing him back. Especially when they want their new trio of Superfriends to build chemistry and Shaq would have been a disruptive element.
Shaq had wanted to go to Dallas, but they have Brendan Haywood and Tyson Chandler now. Boston got Jermaine O’Neal instead — which should tell you about Shaq’s perceived value around the league.
Atlanta still may take him, but on their terms at their money. Same with a few other teams that may be interested. Shaq the player’s diminished skills are not worth Shaq the personality in many team’s eyes right now. You can argue if you want that image is not deserved, but that is the perception around the league. And perception is reality.