Shaqtus: Shaquille O’Neal’s 103 Games on the Phoenix Suns

Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

Shaquille O’Neal, even at 35 years old, was perhaps the biggest veteran star name acquired in Suns’ history.

Over his brief two seasons and 103 games (plus 5 playoff games), Shaq produced but the Suns managed just 1 playoff win total. His .609% field goal percentage with the Phoenix Suns ranks second in franchise history, but his production often came at the expense of others.

With the NBA having a Shaq Week, let’s look at Shaq’s interesting ride with the Suns.

The Trade: O’Neal came to the Suns following a successful, but injury troubled run with the Miami Heat for 3.5 seasons, highlighted with a championship. Shaq had made the all-star team all three seasons in Miami despite averaging fewer than 60 games per season.

On February 8th, 2006, the Phoenix Suns would trade Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks to the Miami Heat for Shaquille O’Neal. This was an early move by general manager Steve Kerr.

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The Results: Prior to Shaq’s debut with the Suns on February 20th, the team was 37-16. He would debut against the Los Angeles Lakers, in a game the Suns lost 130-124. Amar’e Stoudemire had 37 points and 15 rebounds, Kobe Bryant scored 41, and Shaq and 15 points and 9 rebounds.

The Suns would go 18-11 with Shaq in the regular season. In the playoffs, the San Antonio Spurs would crush souls in a double over time game one win in San Antonio, with the Suns ultimately eliminated in 5 games in the first round.

The following season (2008-09), Shaq would have one of the healthiest seasons of his career, playing 75 games and leading the league in field goal percentage. Unfortunately, the Suns could only reach 46-36, missing the playoffs completely.

The Departure: Phoenix would dump the salary off to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Sasha Povlovic, Ben Wallace, cash, and a 2nd round pick the next offseason. Neither player would ever suit up for the Suns.

The Shaqtus: This also happened:

While not his most popular nickname, it always had a place in my heart.

must read: 2016-17 Prediction

Overall, the Shaquille O’Neal era in Phoenix was a failure. But at least we have the Shaqtus.