Shaq still going to be a presence in Miami next year

Coach Pat Riley issued a one-sentence statement Wednesday regarding the future of the Miami Heat: Shaquille O’Neal will be a part of it.

“Amongst growing speculation in the media, in reference to Shaq, I want to set the record straight and say that we are not trading Shaq,” Riley said.

Putting O’Neal on the market became a rumor topic after the Chicago Bulls swept the defending NBA champion Heat in the first round of the playoffs. At age 35, O’Neal failed to reach the second round for the first time since 1994.

O’Neal sat out 42 games this season, mostly because of knee surgery, and averaged a career-low 17.3 points. He made the All-Star Game for the 14th consecutive season.

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