The Heat has told center Shaquille O’Neal’s representation that it is talking about trading him and he should be prepared for the possibility of a deal, according to two officials close to the situation. Phoenix has discussed sending forward Shawn Marion and point guard Marcus Banks to the Heat in return for O’Neal.
Asked for confirmation, one of O’Neal’s representatives said O’Neal has been made aware that discussions with Phoenix are serious and ongoing, but that a deal was not definite.
Dallas also has been mentioned as a potential destination, though the Heat had not immediately informed O’Neal of that possibility.
O’Neal, 35, was shocked by the turn of events, an associate said. O’Neal helped lead the Heat to the 2005-06 championship, but Miami has struggled since, losing in the first round of the playoffs last season and opening this season with a league-worst 9-37 record.
O’Neal, who has been out with a hip injury, has two years left on his contract after this season. He will be paid $20 million each of the next two seasons.
I wish the Heat good luck trying to trade O’Neal. They will need it. O’Neal’s productive days are over with. He also carries an immense salary. I wouldn’t trade for him, but if the rumors are right there are teams out there willing to take a chance. Miami needs to re-build and O’Neal won’t be part of the Heat’s future. May as well move on now if the opportunity presents itself.
AP reports Shaq may be headed to the Phoenix Suns.
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