Why Shaquille O'Neal Won't Push the Cavaliers Past the Celtics

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Why Shaquille O'Neal Won't Push the Cavaliers Past the Celtics
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Finals are over, and the Los Angeles Lakers have won their 15th title. Phil Jackson has surpassed Red Auerbach with 10 NBA championships.

Though it was complete agony to witness this coveted record fall, Jackson commented that he would smoke a cigar in honor of Red. I thought that was kind of classy, even for the Zen Master.

I would be lying if I said that I was totally overjoyed about the Lakers winning—quite the opposite.

It was very amusing to me, however, that on the night of his first victory without Shaq, Kobe Bryant still had to share the headlines with the "Big Cactus."

It seems that someone leaked the rumor that Cleveland and Phoenix are again in talks to trade Shaquille O'Neal to the Cavs for Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic. The trade was leaked the day of Game Five, L.A.'s Championship-clinching contest.

We all know of Shaq's desire to win his fifth title. Winning his fifth with LeBron James would be very attractive to the big fellathis would help to cement his legacy as a dominant big man that won championships with all three of this generation's superstar perimeter players.

I must look at this trade from the Boston Celtics' perspective. Last season the Cavaliers added Mo Williams to help them get past Boston in the Conference playoffs.

Though the matchup never materialized, I feel if Boston were healthy, the addition of Mo would not have made much of an impact. Williams was a non-factor in the Orlando series, and I feel he would have disappeared under pressure, regardless of the opponent.

This offseason, Cleveland is looking to add a big man to counter Dwight Howard.

The 2010 Celtics, most likely one of the Eastern Conference's top two teams, should not have a problem guarding Shaq as a Cavalier. The fact is, Kendrick Perkins has held Shaq to well under 20 points per game and under nine rebounds per game in the last two seasons.

Though Shaq still demands double coverage from most teams, I do not believe that to be so against Perkins, especially with Kevin Garnett's help defensively. No double teams means no great passes to the open jump shooters by Shaq.

Cleveland is a first-rate pick-and-roll team and uses the offensive set frequently. Shaq, throughout his career, had been known as a good pick-and-roll player. While a Phoenix Sun, Shaq displayed his difficulties in this area, citing his lack of explosiveness off the roll—one of the few areas where Shaq resembles his 37 years.

Though Shaq's physical play may counter the play of Howard, I do not feel the addition of Shaquille will affect the Celtics either way.

In other rumors, the last few weeks have been littered with the Celtics' potential dealings. Danny Ainge's love affair with Tyreke Evans had the team dishing Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen for the second pick in the NBA draft.

As reported by Celtics Circuit this morning, the latest round of trade rumors have Perkins and Bill Walker shipping out to Memphis for the No. 2 pick.

With the trade of Shaq to Cleveland looming, it would seem that trading away Boston's defensive-minded center would be ridiculous.

Though a total retooling of Boston's lineup has been suggested as necessary to secure the Celtics' long-term future, I do not see the team disassembling their starting five. Ownership, the front office, and coaching staff have made it clear that bringing the Celtics an 18th banner in 2010 is their top priority.

The fact is, Shaq will have no impact on the Boston Celtics' 2010 season. Potential injuries or the constant trade rumors coming to fruition would be more detrimental to the 2008 NBA Champions, a team that is looking to retake their throne—a trophy Garnett guaranteed will return to Boston in 2010.

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