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Is it time for Shaq to shut it down for good...


El Guapo
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Between MRIs and rehabilitation, losing games and luster on his legacy, Shaquille O?Neal is caught in a cycle that promises no fades into a golden sunset. For reasons of his own negligence and nature itself, his body has betrayed him. So did his Miami Heat boss. Pat Riley squeezed one final championship out of Shaq and long had been willing to live with the consequences of a crippling contract.

 

This isn?t the way Superman should spend his golden years. This isn?t how it should end. He?s left the Heat for the third time this season. His hip and quadriceps are inflamed and Shaq needs rest. This is no revelation, but Superman is broken. His days of dominating are done, and there?s no supporting cast to ease him into his golden years.

 

The Heat have lost 14 consecutive games. They?ve lost with Shaq and without Shaq.

 

Soon, Shaq will be 36 years old and for his own good, his own legacy, he should take a buyout on the two years and $40 million left on his deal. No one wants to watch him limp around on a lottery loser, watch him embarrassed to the end.

 

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Riley is counting the days until Shaq and millions of dollars more dead weight comes off the cap in 2010. The run is over. Suddenly, Superman is disposable.

 

?If he?s hurting and not playing good, he is being talked about,? Dwyane Wade said. ?If he is not playing and trying to get healthy, he is being talked about for taking time off.

 

?It?s a lose-lose situation.?

 

Nothing changes that now. For the Lakers, the thought of squeezing one more championship out of Shaq with a contract extension suffocating the franchise was unappealing. For the Heat, the prospects of winning one elusive title was intoxicating. Riley was desperate in Miami and Shaq was wildly motivated after Kobe Bryant and Jerry Buss shunned him in Los Angeles. Owner Micky Arison gave him five years, $100 million and Shaq gave Riles his undying loyalty. As much as anything, that bond made it easy for Riley to usurp Stan Van Gundy?s authority as coach and take back his old coaching job on the way to the 2006 title.

 

In a lot of ways, Riley and Shaq needed a post-Lakers championship to validate themselves. Together, they won it. And together, deep down, they exhaled. All those extra pounds that Shaq let go on his body frightened the Lakers and ultimately speeded up Shaq?s demise.

 

Riley could?ve had hip surgery in the post-championship summer, but chose to travel the world. He bailed on his team when it was losing to have the procedure the next season. Had they been winning, Riley confessed, he could?ve coached through the pain. As an executive, no one had a worse year than him. He lost James Posey and Jason Kapono, and got played for raises by two restricted free agent Milwaukee Bucks and took Smush Parker, Ricky Davis and Mark Blount into his team.

 

When Riley made the trade for Shaq in 2004, he was sacrificing the long-term for the short. Shaq couldn?t do it alone. Truth be told, he no longer could be the centerpiece of a champion. Yet, Miami couldn?t do it without him. Wade transformed into a galactic star and delivered everyone ? Shaq and Riley ? to the title.

 

Now, Wade has been surrounded with serial losers and selfish players. Riley?s quick fixes have turned the Heat into a halfway house. A fallen Alonzo Mourning can no longer play hall monitor, and the Heat, one of the league?s toughest franchises, has been overrun with a culture of unprofessionalism.

 

Wade can be a free agent in 2010, which is when Miami can reshape itself through free agency. Who knows? Maybe Miami will get the kind of high lottery pick in 2008 (Kansas State?s Michael Beasley, perhaps) who?ll make a difference. Nevertheless, Riley no longer runs the franchise to serve Shaq?s advanced age. The window?s been declared closed. What?s more, there just doesn?t seem a scenario where a trade to a contender makes sense.

 

No one wants to watch basketball?s biggest kid, best ambassador, on stage without that cackle, without that wise-crack spitting out of the side of his mouth. The All-Star weekend in New Orleans won?t be an All-Star weekend without Shaq. In Las Vegas in ?07, Shaq was the instigator who dared Gilbert Arenas to run onto the floor with the mascots and take a turn leaping off those trampolines for a dunk.

 

His whole persona, his whole being, has been bigger than life for the NBA. In that way, there?s no replacing him. This year, Dwight Howard will be voted the Eastern Conference center. Shaq stays home and the big party in New Orleans goes on without him.

 

For a lot of reasons, O?Neal doesn?t have a chance at the productive twilight years that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had with the Lakers. Kareem had a different body, a different game, a skyhook that stood the test of time. As much as anything, Jabbar had Magic Johnson and James Worthy. All around Shaq now, there?s just dysfunction and despair. Wade can go for 40 a night and it doesn?t matter. No rehab out of Shaquille O?Neal, no renaissance, can change that anymore.

 

To watch Superman limp through 2? more seasons of this promises to be a blight on the game, on his legacy, and you just wish Shaq would let Arison write him a check, take his bow and fade into that golden sunset. You just wish Superman would leave with his cape.

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I think he should shut it down for the rest of this season. If he losses a bit of weight and comes back healthy, he should have enough in the tank for atleast a year or two. He may not be the dominating force he once was, but he's still not completely terrible either.

 

I agree 200%.

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How many more years does he have in his contract? 2? I'd say that he should get healthy and give whatever he has left for the 40 million he still has on his contract. W/e he does for the remainder of his career is certainly not going to affect his status as one of the most dominant players ever. Besides, having Shaq play, even if already mummified, is eternally better than having no Shaq at all or some other scrub.

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Save us the time and money. Shaq should retire and thus open up 40 million back to the Heat.

who do they bring in? Trade deadline could help them to if they can move some stuff a TMac or a Marion. Maybe Shaq retires and that opens up money for both which would be a new big 3 and they could be a great team. Maybe to many shooters, but you only need an average center since there are so few.

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Save us the time and money. Shaq should retire and thus open up 40 million back to the Heat.

 

I'm not trying to start another overly heated argument, but you guys are going to get a painful lesson in NBA players not giving a sh*t about a team's future over their own financial interest. Shaq and his ego are not giving up that $40 million. Even if he retired, his salary is still on the books, at least for cap purposes. It doesn't go away. Only an extremely one sided buyout would allow you to get something back, and those buyouts are usually never that good(usually at least 75 cents on the dollar).

 

If the Heat really want to be players in this offseason, they package Haslem, Blount, Parker and Wright for expiring contracts which may give them a shot at a lucrative free agent like Iguodala, Deng or Brandt.

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Let's hope we get one of the top 3 or 4 picks in the lottery and pick up a stud. Then we can combine Wade with whoever that stud is and be ready to roll next season. This kind of reminds me of the year San Antonio blew, drafted Tim Duncan, paired him up with Robinson, and then went on to be one of the dominating teams in the NBA.

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Save us the time and money. Shaq should retire and thus open up 40 million back to the Heat.

 

I'm not trying to start another overly heated argument, but you guys are going to get a painful lesson in NBA players not giving a sh*t about a team's future over their own financial interest. Shaq and his ego are not giving up that $40 million. Even if he retired, his salary is still on the books, at least for cap purposes. It doesn't go away. Only an extremely one sided buyout would allow you to get something back, and those buyouts are usually never that good(usually at least 75 cents on the dollar).

 

If the Heat really want to be players in this offseason, they package Haslem, Blount, Parker and Wright for expiring contracts which may give them a shot at a lucrative free agent like Iguodala, Deng or Brandt.

Just wishful thinking on my part. I agree, unless Shaq is seriously hurting to get out of bed every morning, he's going to collect on every dime of that contract.

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Let's hope we get one of the top 3 or 4 picks in the lottery and pick up a stud. Then we can combine Wade with whoever that stud is and be ready to roll next season. This kind of reminds me of the year San Antonio blew, drafted Tim Duncan, paired him up with Robinson, and then went on to be one of the dominating teams in the NBA.

 

Historically, Riley has been pretty good when drafting at the top of the draft (Wade, Butler)

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No I don't think he should retire just yet. He's still in the upper echelon of centers in the NBA. IMO, he deserves to play for a franchise that isn't in shambles for his last couple years.

I feel like stan van gundy should still be the coach

 

Heat fans... gotta love em

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No I don't think he should retire just yet. He's still in the upper echelon of centers in the NBA. IMO, he deserves to play for a franchise that isn't in shambles for his last couple years.

I feel like stan van gundy should still be the coach

 

Heat fans... gotta love em

 

not a heat fan, but I think he did much better than Riley. Every place he has been at he has done a fairly good job, no?

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Random question...

 

Lets say a Shaq is in the place of a Sean Taylor and gets shot dies whatever. Do they have to wait the few years for it to come off the payroll or does that free them with money for the cap?

 

I know it is weird to ask, and not saying I want Shaq to die, but the NFL doesn't have guaranteed contracts so it is different I suppose.

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