Monday , Feb , 11 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Shaquille O’Neal Wanted Out of Miami For Awhile

Shaquille O’Neal’s departure from South Florida proved to be a slow burn, not the rapid escape that has been portrayed. Owner Micky Arison and coach Pat Riley confirmed Sunday that the team first received overtures about the since-dealt center from the Dallas Mavericks in December. ‘And we just said, ‘no,’ Riley said before the loss to the Lakers.

 ‘We were not interested at that time in doing anything. So there was a call made way back.’O’Neal was dealt Wednesday to Phoenix for forward Shawn Marion and guard Marcus Banks, the end game of an extended process that Arison said began once O’Neal’s handlers tried to strong-arm the Heat for a significant buyout.That initial contact about O’Neal, which came before the turn of the calendar, was from Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, leading to O’Neal’s push to cash out while spending much of his time inactive. Contrary to reports, the Mavericks never offered forward Josh Howard in the discussions between the teams, but did discuss other,  lesser players.Click here from the South Florida Sun Sentinel.