As John Hollinger points out, it's not just that Diesel's playing badly right now, it's that even if he gets back into shape and improves Miami needs him to be outstanding in a way he probably can't be anymore at his age: "But the Heat's championship hopes depend on Shaq being more than a 'nice' player. He's taking up $20 million a year on a team that refuses to pay luxury tax, so he pretty much needs to be a superstar. Those days appear long gone. Even if Shaq matches his second half numbers from last season, he's a borderline All-Star at best."
What's more, his contract goes through the 2009-2010 season when Miami will also apparently be paying Mark Blount $8 million so I think Dwayne Wade is probably looking at being out of contention for some time.
Photo by Flickr user SporTech used under a Creative Commons license
Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.