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If Shaq Leaves Phoenix, His Reborn Superstar Status Isn't Going to Follow Him

I'm going to break my usual embargo on gossip and hearsay and report this one like someone else -- actually, Mark Heisler of the Los Angeles Times -- did. Here's some rather scandalous news about where, supposedly, Shaquille O'Neal's head is at. In the middle of what most of the world has termed his most recent renaissance, return to form, top of the world, whatever. ↵
↵The goods: "Oh, and Shaq, who's still broadcasting his love for Phoenix, is saying privately he wants out, upset to the highest level of upsetivity, as he once said, at almost being traded, or the team's return to running, or both." Mind you, this comes in the midst of a general assessment of the Suns' dim prospects. Like how, if they want to save any money, they now have to let Matt Barnes and Grant Hill go. How should that even make a noticeable difference to the cap? Anyway, what's striking here is that Shaq's learned to think of himself as a leading man again. Yes, he's effective for now. But the more this team gets its run on -- especially when Amare's back next season -- the less plausible an option he becomes. At least not on the level he's once again come to expect. ↵
↵Again, these aren't hard facts. But would you be surprised to see Shaq in love with Phoenix now, when in a moment of weakness it suits him, needs him -- and then suddenly lose interest when this transitory phase passes? There's also the strange assumption that this season shows that the Diesel's only gaining momentum, as opposed to those two big games (and the Nash-less, Amare-less spell) having been the crest of this comeback. ↵

↵So go ahead, Big Fella. If you want to move on and look for another place to feel like the man, get that memo out there. Or you could go to Cleveland, put them over the top, and claim credit for the title, and Bron -- kind of like in Miami. That's not happening in Phoenix, either. Yup, just another glimpse into the mind of the greatest center of our era: He's used to getting his way, whether it comes to rings or superstar status. Now, in his old age, Shaq's looking for short cuts to get to the top. ↵


This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.