The Great Shaq Rental: Cavs Looking to Improve in Big Way

Tim Bielik@bielik_timSenior Analyst IJune 16, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 15:  Shaquille O'Neal #32 of the Phoenix Suns looks on against the Golden State Warriors during an NBA game on March 15, 2009 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. 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 Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

It didn't take long for Shaquille O'Neal to steal the spotlight away from former teammate Kobe Bryant's fourth championship.

Monday, ESPN reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns resumed talks to trade O'Neal in a deal that failed to materialize in February.

The trade is not totally likely, but still possible, and already it has generated amazing buzz.

For one, the trade means bringing two of the largest NBA media figures together in the same frontcourt, lining O'Neal next to LeBron James. This could potentially be an ego clash.

In addition, Shaq is 37, and Cleveland has drawn great criticism for having an aging frontcourt despite a very young and potent starting backcourt.

Still, Shaq has more offensive potential and strength in the post than current Cavaliers Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Ben Wallace.

No one expects Anderson Varejao to come back to Cleveland for cheap, leaving the Wine and Gold suddenly very thin up front.

With the reported trade being Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic for Shaq, Cleveland does gain some maneuverability out of the deal.

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For example, the Diesel will only be in Cleveland for one year, basically being a rental big man.

That means his $20 million contract, the largest expiring contract in the NBA for 2010, frees up alot of cap space, along with Ilgauskas's contract running out that same year.

The ramifications of those contracts plays heavily into the offseason that is the ultimate free agency spree in the NBA, with numerous superstars out on the market.

Potentially, these expiring deals could enable the Cavaliers to pursue F Chris Bosh or C Yao Ming in free agency, after resigning James of course.

Reports out of Cleveland has stated that GM Danny Ferry is actively pursuing numerous trades to improve a team that won 66 games, but was upset by the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The major problem with the trade, however, is whether or not Shaq is willing to play second fiddle to James.

Shaq has always been the guy almost everywhere he has gone and draws a media circus his way. LeBron draws a similar media draw and there is only so much space in the locker room.

In addition, Shaq is not as athletic as he used to be, and can clog the lane that James thrives on using to get to the hoop.

When it comes to this trade, there really is no neutral ground: either you like the trade or really hate it depending on what Cleveland has to give.

This trade might not even happen, but it certainly makes for an exciting storyline.

If Cleveland can pull off the deal, even for just one year, they have an opportunity to build a future by adding Diesel to the fuel tank.