Posted 09 April 2009 - 06:09 AM
Shaquille O'Neal always talks about how he has seen it all in 17 NBA seasons but he has never experienced this. For the next five games, the Suns center is just playing out the schedule with the next Dallas win or Suns loss eliminating Phoenix. O'Neal last missed the playoffs as a rookie in 1993 but even that came on a tiebreaker after the last game. O'Neal, 37, averaged 18.0 points this season, his best scoring work since Miami's 2005-06 title season. His 61.1 percent shooting is a career best and his 60.9 percent free-throw shooting is second best in his career. O'Neal blames the Suns season's "athletic culture changes" for the team's demise and knows his future with them is uncertain. "I'm sure there's going to be some decisions to be made," said O'Neal, whose contract expires with a $20 million salary next season. "It's not my job (to decide). There are two types of business owners. Do you want to win or do you want to save money? Period." When asked which one Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver was, O'Neal said: "I'm not sure. The guy over here (Dallas owner Mark Cuban) spends money. I don't think he's really worried about the salary cap. I've been around 17 years and that's what it is. You either want to win and don't really care about the salary cap or you want to be under the salary cap."