Saturday , Jun , 06 , 2009 Oly Sandor

The Big Juxtaposition: Will Shaquille O’Neal make an NBA Finals appearance in Orlando or Los Angeles?

O’Neal likely senses the end is near, so I think he wants to rewrite the past. On some level, he probably hopes Florida forgives and forgets that he once ditched the Magic at the free agent alter and effectively sent the franchise back to the Stone Age. (Of course, his cause wasn’t helped when he declared verbal jihad on the team’s current superstar, Dwight Howard, and coach, Stan Van Gundy, earlier this year.) …


The Big Juxtaposition: Will Shaquille O'Neal make an NBA Finals appearance in Orlando or Los Angeles?I call him The Big Juxtaposition.

Literally speaking, I’m right since Shaquille O’Neal, the master of flip-flops and contradictions, stands 7-1 and 320 pounds. And after years of slamming his former teams publicly, the Magic and Lakers, I wouldn’t be surprised if O’Neal shows up at the NBA Finals in Orlando or Los Angeles.

If the Hall of Fame post appears courtside at Amway Arena or Staples Centre, it will be because he has an angle.

O’Neal likely senses the end is near, so I think he wants to rewrite the past. On some level, he probably hopes Florida forgives and forgets that he once ditched the Magic at the free agent alter and effectively sent the franchise back to the Stone Age. (Of course, his cause wasn’t helped when he declared verbal jihad on the team’s current superstar, Dwight Howard, and coach, Stan Van Gundy, earlier this year.)

He then signed with the Lakers and, of course, his time in La-La land was even more controversial. I remember the Shaq-Kobe World Wars lasting for years and involving every person in the organization. In the end, O’Neal was traded to the Heat, but he continued to throw darts at the purple-and-gold whenever possible.

Recently, the five-man has also shown a little more détente with both Orlando and Los Angeles. For instance, during the Eastern Conference Finals, he appeared at a Magic game. And he has made nice with Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson, claiming their feud was contrived for marketing.

Courtside seats? Marketing? What’s really going on?

O’Neal is eyeing the Magic and Lakers. For instance, Shaq and Grant Hill, teammates in Phoenix, both call Orlando home in the off-season and have talked openly of trying to buy the club when their playing days are over.

But O’Neal hasn’t yet retired. His improved play and expiring contract makes him a prime candidate to be moved by the rebuilding Phoenix Suns. Could the reigning All-Star game MVP be putting out feelers for a return to Hollywood?

I think a reunion with the Lakers is extremely unlikely. They already have a young post in Andrew Bynum. The club is capped out and has to somehow find money to re-sign Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom. And too many bridges were burned with ownership.

Still, if O’Neal shows during the NBA Finals, it’s no coincidence. Remember, he always has an angle. 

Will Shaq make an NBA Finals appearance? What is his angle? Get at us in the comment box below and come back to HoopsVibe for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of Reitch.