NEW YORK (AP) -Pat Riley can't understand why Shaquille O'Neal keeps talking about the Miami Heat.
Riley responded to O'Neal's criticisms Wednesday with some of his own, saying his former center was wrong to disparage some of his old teammates and trainers in a Boston Globe story.
``It's sad that he says those things. We shared so much here, together, for three years, good and bad, 3 1/2 years,'' Riley said, referring specifically to the Heat's 2006 NBA title. ``I just think it's sad that he's got to do that.''
Riley dealt O'Neal to Phoenix before the trade deadline, allowing the 36-year-old center the chance to compete for another title instead of sticking around Miami for a last-place finish. O'Neal made it clear how much he prefers his new teammates.
``I love playing for this coach and I love playing with these guys,'' O'Neal told the Globe. ``We have professionals who know what to do. No one is asking me to play with Chris Quinn or Ricky Davis. I'm actually on a team again.''
Riley said he doesn't have ``anything but good feelings for Shaq'' and wasn't bothered by any criticism leveled at him. But he said O'Neal has no reason to blame anyone else in the organization for his unhappiness.
``When you're 9-40, we're all frustrated. I mean everybody's at fault, we all were. Everybody was feeling bad and nobody wants that,'' Riley said.
``He didn't want to be there, he didn't want to play for that kind of situation, 35 years old. He wanted to go to a contender and we sent him there. We sent him to Utopia and we're left here with the carnage and I don't know why he's not happy.''
Riley also defended the work of veteran trainer Ron Culp and the team's medical staff, saying O'Neal was out of line to speak poorly of them.
``It's really a shame that he would insult those people like that because they gave him care. They cared,'' Riley said. ``They didn't kiss his butt. They cared about him.
``He can do whatever he wants to do to me. That's OK, I don't care. But those men, they tried. ... That upsets me more than anything.''
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