The Big Aristotle and the King in the Kingdom? Shaquille O'Neal to Cavs

Bhavik DarjiCorrespondent IJune 14, 2009

We have heard the talk of Shaquille O'Neal going to the Cleveland Cavaliers since the trade deadline was approaching in February.

Nothing happened.

According to ESPN, the trade talk between Cleveland and the Suns have been going on since the deadline happened. Danny Ferry, Cleveland's GM, and Steve Kerr, the GM of the Suns, have been talking on a consistent base.

Looking at the current situation with the Suns, it would not be the greatest decision to part with Shaq yet. His contract is set to expire in 2010, making him a member of that same legendary free agent class that includes LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. His contract is worth roughly about $20 million per year, and that's $20 million off the cap for the Suns.

Then you look at Steve Nash. He will also be part of that illustrious class. The Suns would be relieved of $11 million. That's about $31 million off the cap for the Suns, giving them enough money to sign a marquee player, like James, and add a player to complement that marquee player.

But, then you have Amare Stoudimire. He has the option to opt out of his contract and join that illustrious class of 2010. If he does, you would have a total of $45.6 million coming off the shelf for the Suns. That's just about enough to sign three marquee players for $15 million a year. The Suns just have to hope that he does.

There is no question they would want to move one of their big contracts to get under the cap if salary relief is what they want.

That's where the Cleveland Cavaliers come in.

They traded for Mo Williams to be able to contend with Boston, but that wasn't a problem as Kevin Garnett got injured. When they reached the Easter Conference Finals, they met with Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic. They didn't expect the Magic to come as far as they came this year during the offseason.

They were not ready for them. They had no one to stop Howard and they eventually fell to them, 4-2.

Now the Cavs realize LeBron is entering the final year of his contract and they do not want to lose him to free agency. They are going to do their best to satisfy him and the city of Cleveland. Bringing in Shaq might be the answer to their problems (sorry Allen Iverson).

Currently, here's what's being proposed.

Cavs get

Shaquile O'Neal

Suns get

Ben Wallace

Sasha Pavlovic

With Wallace contemplating retirement and Pavlovic's contract being $4.5 million with only $1.5 million guaranteed, that saves the Suns some money this year (around $10 million to be exact). They can even save some more money if Wallace agrees to a buy out worth less then his face value.

They are taking a gamble, because Wallace's contract does not expire this year, and he might not retire. They would actually prefer Wally Szczerbiak, as his contract is coming off the shelf this year.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

As you can see on the chart, Shaq proves to be a much better upgrade from Ilgauskas and Varejao. Shaq can play the post position, something Ilgauskas is fairly weak at, and has enough strength to defend Howard.

His weaknesses are his health and his inability to play the pick and roll as well as he used to. It also hurts LeBron's driving lane since you would have Shaq camping in the lane waiting to get the ball. You won't have Ilgauskas waiting on the perimeter for LeBron to drive and kick.

Shaq will probably not resign with the Cavs once his contract is over, but go and sign with the Lakers to get one more chance to play with Kobe Bryant. If the Cavs don't do well that season, you could see LeBron leave. That leaves the Cavs with $35.75 million relief from their cap.

That's good enough to lure in Dwayne Wade, or another marquee player to complement the marquee one.

This trade could happen any time, seeing as how Ferry and Kerr are good friends dating back to the San Antonio playing days. Both would be willing to do favours for one another.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.