Sekou Smith of NBA.com did some digging over the weekend and learned the Atlanta Hawks may not have abandoned their pursuit of free-agent center Shaquille O’Neal after all:
An extended conversation with one Hawks official over the weekend led to at least a few minutes of discussion about the Big Teamless One. And despite rumblings to the contrary, the Hawks have not abandoned the idea of O’Neal joining the size-deficient frontline rotation that already includes All-Star center Al Horford, Defensive Player of the Year runner-up and power forward Josh Smith, starting small forward Marvin Williams and reserves like Zaza Pachulia and Josh Powell (whose signing has yet to be announced officially).
“The Shaq situation is not a dead subject for us,” the Hawks official told me. “We are still exploring the possibilities.”
Smith worked the Hawks beat for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for five years, according to his NBA.com bio, so there’s no reason to doubt his connections or authenticity.
Smith, rather boldly, says the only “glitch” that could stop Shaq from landing in Atlanta is “another team sliding in there and taking Shaq off the market before the Hawks can get their affairs in order.”