The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Phoenix Suns have come to an agreement on a blockbuster trade that sends Shaquille O'Neal to Cleveland to team with LeBron James, according to sources.
The deal has been agreed to in principle and is expected to be finalized Thursday, according to sources.
Cleveland will send Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic to Phoenix for the future Hall of Famer. Sources said the Suns will also receive the 46th pick in Thursday's NBA draft and $500,000.
The best thing about this deal is that the Cavs gave up diddly squat. Wallace would've retired and Pavlovic sucks ass (sometimes, anyways. But that's the problem), so they're getting O'Neal for nothing. Which is kinda neat (if J.J. Hickson would've been thrown in, I would be chained to the Q right now in protest).
Now, despite my misgivings about dealing for a 37 yr old fat guy, I'm finding that I'm actually excited for this deal. If nothing else this guy demands a double-team and if he's motivated (and there's no way he shouldn't be) he should be able to open things up for some of the other guys (including LeBron).
Plus, it's fucking Shaq. The dude is a presence. He's hilarious. Having this guy run around town will only be entertaining. Cleveland could use some good vibes and some star power.
On the other hand, I did write this yesterday:
And let me take this opportunity to voice my opposition to Shaq. No thanks. I don't need a 37 year old center who ***news-fucking-flash*** can't guard Dwight Howard, who still demands the ball (you thought the offense was ugly NOW, wait til you see a night like this: LeIso-Shaq post-LeIso-Shaq post-Shaq post-LeIso. On the plus side, LeBron can get to stand around and watch Shaq, so he could get some extra rest) and who gets into verbal spats with Orlando's coach (you know, the guy who outcoached the Cavs). No thanks. Plus, he costs a shit load of money (he makes $21 million(!!!) next year).
And I stand by this (I mean, this doesn't reek of desperation just a tad? A little?).
Did we forget how the Cavs lost to Orlando? Their big men were too slow and their guards were too small. Now, obviously the Cavs aren't done making moves (they have to get a big guard, especially with Pavlovic gone), but I'm not sure how much better Shaq will be against Howard (sure he can maybe play him one-on-one a bit more and Shaq can probably make him work defensively, but O'Neal doesn't have the foot speed to match Dwight).
Also, doesn't this just make you just a wee bit sick to your stomach:
The Cavaliers were also in talks with New Orleans about obtaining Tyson Chandler. If they had not made the trade for O'Neal, they would have traded for Chandler, according to a source.
Ugh. You mean they could've had a young, defensive-minded athletic center? A guy who could've been around for a few years. A long term replacement for Z? And they chose the one year rental? Awesome. (Obviously, they're holding out hope for a 2010 signing like Bosh/Amare/Yao).
We're putting a lot of faith in Mike Brown and the Cavaliers coaching staff (we'll see how Shaq likes Coach Mike's defense) to be able to work this thing out. Shaq ain't the easiest guy to incorporate into a system. We're also putting a lot of faith in a 37 year old, 7 foot, 300+ lb body. This may require a lot of praying.
Obviously, I hope this works out. I really, really do. LeBron and Shaq is an awesome story and if they pull out a title, lord help us, that parade will be ridiculous (and who cares about the "can't win w/o Shaq" argument. I just want to win. Period). There's no possible way that I won't own at least one Shaq Cavaliers jersey.
But this can't (and shouldn't) be their final move. Anderson Varejao is in a tricky situation, because you normally like to have PF's who can knock down face-up jumpers next to O'Neal, which is not Anderson's forte. And they still need a big, athletic wing player to help out defensively (and be able to knock down open looks).
If nothing else, this is fun. Having Shaq here will be extremely interesting and hopefully mostly drama-free. He's gotta know he's near the end of the line and the fact that he's coming to a 66 win squad (with the reigning MVP) should keep him in check (I hope). While this is a panic move (at least in my opinion) it is pretty bold. Ferry is going for it, you gotta give him that.