Shaquille O'Neal Traded to Cavaliers: Kobe Bryant Haters Bite Their Nails

kwame manuCorrespondent IJune 25, 2009

DENVER - FEBRUARY 20:   (L-R) LeBron James #23 and Shaquille O'Neal #32 of the Eastern Conference All-Stars smile on the bench in the final moments of the East's win over the Western Conference All-Stars the 54th All-Star Game, part of 2005 NBA All-Star Weekend at Pepsi Center on February 20, 2005 in Denver, Colorado.  The East won 125-115.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Kobe Bryant versus LeBron James debate just got a small twist—a twist that could be mountainous depending on what happens in the next year or two.

The twist is the Big Aristotle. The Big Cactus. Shaq Diesel. Superman.

Shaquille O'Neal.

In the early morning of June 25, Shaq was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Ben Wallace, Sasha Pavlovic, the 46th draft pick, and $500,000.

That's nothing to scoff at. They didn't give up the world, but they didn't give up pocket change either. 

This give the Cavs a presence down low to work with besides Big Z. So think of a Big Z and Shaq tandem.

Not bad.

But this isn't the point of my article. I despise the Cavs. 

This is an article to highlight the ongoing, polarizing debate of Kobe versus LeBron. One of the main knocks against Kobe is that he won the majority of his championship rings with Shaq. Because Kobe won these with Shaq, he is forever tied to him—like it or not. 

LeBron may have to deal with this as well—especially if he wins a championship.

Imagine hearing, "Oh well, he won with Shaq." 

It's so funny, because now those who chastise Kobe for winning with Shaq will have to give the same treatment to LeBron.

This can hurt LeBron in two ways:

"Oh well, he only won because he had Shaq."

"LeBron couldn't even win with Shaq."

You see?

This new dimension to LeBron's career will change him forever. Both Shaq and LeBron have very dominating personalities. Both like to be the center of attention and the leader of the pack. 

Can both exist on the same team?

Time will tell.

I hope they can't. I hope they crumble. But my opinions are unimportant and belittle the fact that this trade can make or break Cleveland right now. 

I don't want to go as far as to say that the dynamic of the NBA has changed. Shaq isn't at that level that he once was. 

However, this does make things interesting in the NBA, especially since the draft is upon us.

Get your popcorn.