Shaq shoots down reports of interest in Magic GM position Staff

5/24/2012 10:44:42 AM

Despite initial reports saying Shaquille O'Neal would welcome a return to Orlando as the Magic's next GM, O'Neal says he has no interest in the position.

ESPN reported Wednesday that O'Neal, who began his NBA career in Orlando, may meet with the Magic as early as next week to discuss their vacant GM position in a move that could ultimately help the team keep Dwight Howard.

However, after the reports surfaced, O'Neal released a statement saying he was not interested in the opportunity.

"When I first heard about the vacancy for the Orlando Magic general manager position, I was clearly intrigued," O'Neal said in a statement Thursday. "I was drafted by the Magic, I have a great love for the franchise, and I have made the city of Orlando my home. Additionally, I have great admiration and respect for the DeVos family.

"However, this is not a job I have an interest in pursuing. I feel very fortunate to be with TNT and to have the best job in sports. I look forward to many more years with Charles (Barkley), Kenny (Smith) and E.J. (Ernie Johnson). I wish the best for the Magic and I am confident that they will select a great GM and coach."

O'Neal, who has no experience in the front office, played for the Magic from 1992 to 1996 and led the club to the NBA Finals in 1995.

The Magic fired coach Stan Van Gundy on Monday and agreed to part ways with general manager Otis Smith, severing ties with two of the architects of one of the most successful runs in franchise history.

Smith and Van Gundy's relationship with Howard was the centerpiece of drama the team faced all season and following their second straight first-round playoff exit, CEO Alex Martins said the shift was warranted.

"It's time for a new leadership and a new approach," Martins said at a news conference on Monday. "We simply came to the decision that we were not on the right track."

Files from ESPN and The Associated Press were used for this report.