Shaq in silver and black?
AOL Fanhouse’s Chris Tomasson has published a report saying that Shaquille O’Neal’s goal is to play two more seasons, and the team he isÂ targetingÂ is your San Antonio Spurs.
He’d really like to go to San Antonio and team with Timmy (Duncan), and try to win one more title,” said the source about O’Neal, who starred in high school in San Antonio.
Spurs general manager R.C. Buford declined comment.
The source said O’Neal, 38, plans to play two more seasons and then retire. He wants there to be a farewell tour in 2011-12, which he expects would be his 20th and final NBA season.
“He wants to sign a two-year deal,” the source said about O’Neal, who made $21 million last season with Cleveland. “And then the second year will be a farewell tour. He can tell a team that you would sell out all 41 games (that season).”
The story states that there is interest on both sides, from Shaq’s camp and the Spurs front office. But the kicker here is that Shaq is reportedly willing to play for San Antonio for the midlevel exception.
But wait, wasn’t the midlevel exception supposed to go to Tiago Splitter?
Well, yes. The latest on the Splitter situation is that the Spurs have yet to offer the Brazilian a contract. But with the cap figure finalized just last night, and today being the first day that teams can officially sign players to contracts, there’s little rush. The Spurs have exclusive rights to Splitter, they don’t have to worry about another team swooping in and offering him more money. The only deadline they have is a reported July 15 deadline for Splitter to complete a buyout from his Spanish team.
San Antonio’s interest in Shaq is somewhat baffling. Outside of Phil Jackson and Mark Cuban, there has been no greater villain for San Antonio Spurs fans than Shaquille O’Neal.
I’m skeptical that RC Buford and co. have plans to add Shaq to the frontcourt rotation. For a team whose pick-and-roll defense led to its demise this past season, adding O’Neal doesn’t help. At all.
One possibility in this is Tiago Splitter’s camp is looking for the full midlevel exception, while the Spurs front office is only willing to part with a portion of that. Showing interest in signing Shaq to the midlevel may be San Antonio’s way of putting pressure on Splitter and his agent to lower theirÂ expectations.
The next few days will tell if San Antonio’s interest in Shaq is genuine, or just jostling for position in negotiations with Splitter. But I think one thing’s for certain, Spurs fans would rather have a 25-year-old Spanish league MVP in Splitter than a 38-year-old Shaq looking for one last ring and a “farewell tour.”