For weeks ESPN has ranked 38 year-old veteran Shaquille O'Neal as the top free agent on the market.
From Atlanta Hawks sign-and-trade rumors, to signing with the Boston Celtics, to even possibly re-joining with the Miami Heat, O'Neal's name has certainly been tossed around throughout the league this offseason.
So why exactly hasn't Shaq found himself a new home yet?
Simple, O'Neal's asking price begins above the mid-level exception.
Bigger question, is Shaq deserving of a contract that starts at a minimum of $6 million per year?
Taking it back to last season, O'Neal tied for 14th (with Jermaine O'Neal) in John Hollinger's PER for centers out of a total of 59 big men.
In a career low 23.4 MPG, the Diesel averaged a mere 12.0 PPG to go along with 6.7 RPG and 1.2 BPG, as opposed to Jermaine O'Neal, who logged 28.4 MPG, posting 13.6 PPG, 7.0 RPG, and 1.4 BPG.
Jermaine signed a two-year mid-level exception deal with the Boston Celtics, making $5.765 million in the first year and $6.226 million in the final year according to Hoopshype.com
In addition to Jermaine logging exactly 5 minutes more per game than Shaq last season, he has also remained a slight bit more durable than Shaq, playing in an average of 60 games per year since the '05-06 season, as opposed to the Diesel's 57.6 games per season.
With proof that both O'Neals have had relatively similar averages during the last few seasons, (as both stars have seen their prime come and go) doesn't it seem egotistical of "Shaq-tus" to ask for a starting price of anything more than a mid-level exception?
While Jermaine was never on the same level as Shaq, he was still a 20 and 10 type of guy during the peak of his career.
Unless Shaq wakes up from his precious dreams of once bringing down backboards in Orlando and starring in movies like Kazaam, the big fella will end up either signing a huge contract with an international team or sitting unemployed on his 325 lb butt.
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