Blogs > Cleveland Cavaliers Blog

Find out the scoop on the CAVS from award-winning sports writer Bob Finnan.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Shaq coming to Cavs

It's an exciting day for the Cavaliers.

What can be more exciting than having the 30th pick in Thursday's NBA draft?

OK, just kidding. The Cavs made a blockbuster trade late Wednesday night with the Phoenix Suns. They sent the expiring contracts of Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic, the 46th pick in the tonight's draft and $500,000 to the Suns for center Shaquille O'Neal.

O'Neal is 37 years old. This will be his 19th NBA season.

The Cavs needed to find someone to battle Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic. Howard might jump over him. He might go around him. But he won't overpower him in the low post.

O'Neal is one of the strongest human beings in the world. People still marvel when they see just how big he is up close. I know I still do. God just doesn't make men that big on a regular basis.

He will be up for the task of stopping Howard, too, since they have been having a feud for a couple years. He doesn't like Magic coach Stan Van Gundy either. That's all the better.

The Cavs could have used some of his mojo in the Eastern Conference finals. If they had pulled the trigger on the Shaq trade at the trade deadline, the Cavs might have gotten past the Magic and into the NBA Finals.

But hindsight is 20/20.

The Suns are trying to avoid paying the luxury tax this year, which was why they shipped Shaq out of town. They are having financial difficulties and need to slash some payroll.

Of course, much of the league is like that. But not in Cleveland. Things are upbeat with the Cavs right now. Just ask the people in the ticket office. Corporate sales are also high.

Wait until word spreads about getting Shaq.

Everything isn't rosy with the deal, though. Scouts say he can't defend the pick-and-roll. Some think he's on his last leg. But Shaq on his last leg is still better than 85 percent of the league's centers.

One big question is what will the Cavs do with Zydrunas Ilgauskas. You can't acquire Shaq and bring him off the bench. Z will have to come off the bench. You can't play the two together in one front line, even though one might do something like that on rare occasions.

Shaq is a 15-time All-Star and was named third-team All-NBA last year.

My guess is that Wallace and Pavlovic won't appear in one game with the Suns. Wallace will accept a buyout and retire, while Pavlovic will probably be waived.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home