Shaq to Phoenix Confirmed: Diesel Deleted From D-Wade’s Five
Shaq and D-Wade before the bottom -- Shaq's bottom -- fell out (or grew out, as the case may be).
MIAMI (Sportsman’s Daily Wire Service) — Rumors that Shaquille O’Neal is headed to Phoenix in exchange for Suns’ forward Sean Marion and point guard Marcus Banks were confirmed when an enterprising reporter noticed that Shaq was no longer among Dwayne Wade’s “Five.” During his first two years with the Heat, the dynamic Wade was taken under Shaq’s expansive wing, as the veteran center tirelessly extolled the young guard’s virtues as a player and teammate mature beyond his years. Wade looked up to the still-productive Shaq as something of a big, albeit lumbering, brother, actively seeking the big, albeit increasingly clumsy, man’s advice on everything from handling celebrity to handling his wife’s moods and spending habits.
But mid-way through last season, as it became apparent that Shaq’s unimpressive early season form – overweight and sluggish – was not about to improve, teammates noticed Wade becoming increasingly distant, pretending not to hear or understand Shaq’s relentless barrage of uniformly dumb jokes, refusing to engage Shaq in small talk during time-outs, or on occasion refusing to even take his frequent, sometimes frantic calls – which could come at any time of day or night.
“I think the turning point was during a pre-game shoot-around in Dallas, Shaq missed a couple of games and looked like a big rusty old fishing boat moving through an ice-floe – clanging balls off the rim, tripping over his big feet…just a mess," said a Heat teammate. "We were all pretending not to notice, but at one point he asks Dwayne – ‘yo, D, how does my ass look?’ Now, Shaq’s caboose was never exactly a thing of beauty, but by then it’d taken on a life of its own – you half expected it to sprout legs, walk out the building and take the city hostage. But D just shook his head and kept working on his J.”
When Wade returned to the active roster several games into the season, he struggled to regain his form. The continued, though no less shocking decline of Shaq’s game heightened Wade’s frustrations.
“It got to the point that the best part of Shaq’s game was when he was on the bench with six fouls and couldn’t do any more harm. With Shaq’s overfed rump glued to the pine, D could finally maneuver in the paint. Since word came down that Shaq’s Phoenix-bound, D’s looking like himself again. Now Shaq’s Nash’s problem.”
The idea of Shaq running the break with Nash has many league officials scratching their heads, though chances are Shaq’s glacial mobility and inability to defend will force him to sit out critical stretches late in the game, allowing Nash to operate unburdened of 360 lbs of rapidly decaying skills.
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