The deal is all but done—ESPN reports that by the end of today, the ink will be dry and Shaquille O’Neal will be a Cleveland Cavalier.
Adding Shaq to the lineup will fill a need the Cavalier’s have for a dominant big man. This considered, getting O’Neal is a smart move for Cleveland.
Last year when the Cavaliers met the Celtics in the playoffs, Garnett scored 28 points and had 8 rebounds in Game One. Of course, the Celtics would go on to win the series and eventually the NBA Championship.
This year, everybody remembers when the Magic ended the Cleveland bid for the Finals, largely in thanks to Dwight Howard’s dominance inside, particularly the 40 point performance in Game Six.
Obviously, having a talented big man is critical. The Cavaliers lack that strong presence inside, and it has hurt them, not in the regular season, but when it counts the most; in the Playoffs.
Because, let’s not kid ourselves, this team is driven by LeBron James, and James is driven by the desire to win championships.
Shaq can help the Cavs with their big man problems. This season, it won’t be up to the broken down Zydrunas Ilgauskas or the Side-Show-Bob haired flopper, Anderson Varejao, to provide all the inside game for Cleveland.
However, getting Shaq will not be a cure all for Cleveland.
The Cavaliers are still lacking a guard that can help LeBron James score. Mo Williams and Delonte West are not enough. Plus, Williams is 6’1 and West is 6’3. The Cavaliers need to add some height at this position.
Also, the focus this offseason for the Cavaliers is building a team around LeBron James that will make him want to stay in Cleveland for years to come.
Shaq is 37.
He probably only has two years left in him. The Cavaliers will need to look ahead further than that if they expect LeBron to stick around.
So, as with most deals, there are negatives and positives to adding Shaq to the Cleveland lineup. He is a veteran big man who will fill a hole in the Cavaliers roster. The problem is, how long will he be able to fill it? Plus, it’s not the only hole Cleveland has. They will need to make more moves in the offseason to get the talent they need.
But the Shaq trade adds one more element of drama. The story this season was the Kobe vs. LeBron rivalry. And as any puppet commercial will tell you, this matchup is going to be a focus in the future.
Now, LeBron will have Kobe’s old teammate, who shares three NBA Titles with Bryant. It is undeniable that seeing Kobe playing against LeBron andShaq will add interest to any Cavs/Lakers game, not to mention the LeBron vs. Kobe rivalry.
And, for agreements sake, let’s say that the Cavaliers win a Championship with Shaq and LeBron, and then Shaq retires.
We could be asking, can LeBronwin without Shaq?
This trade could have LeBron following in Kobe’s footsteps in a way he might not like.