It’s A Bird…It’s A Plane…It’s…Shaq?

Shaquille-O-Neal-Lebron-James
Shaquille O’neal has resurfaced as the center piece, of a new 2009-2010, Cleveland Cavaliers team.  In February, there were rumors that the Cavs were in discussions with the Phoenix Suns, in a deal that would have landed Shaq in Cleveland.  O’neal, once a terror to handle in the post, is now a micro-cosm of his former self.  Shaq, who just turned 37, is coming off his best season since ’06-’07, where he averaged 17ppg, 7reb, 2ast, & 1blk.  The Diesel put up 18 & 8 this season, but is very far off from his career averages of 25 pts, 11 boards, and 2 blocks.  Putting the numbers aside, there isn’t a player in the league like Shaquille O’neal, who’s arguably the most dominant force the NBA’s ever seen.  But, is Shaq the answer?  Would the acquisition of Shaq put Cleveland in the Finals, and assure a title? 
 
If fans have observed thus far, the Cavs have made acquisitions to get past opponents that have halted their journey.  Last year, the Boston Celtics eliminated the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals in 7 games.  The following year, the Cavs add Mo Williams, a much needed scoring point guard, to help them defeat the Celtics.  This year, the Cavs were eliminated by the Orlando Magic, who dominated the Cavs in the middle, as well as from the wings.  Shaq will be a player who can slow down Dwight Howard, but is he the answer?  O’neal would provide a force, and toughness to a team that lacks it, outside of LeBron James.  However, the situation in Cleveland reminds me of the one that has been in Philadelphia Eagles football for years.  The Eagles front office failed to acknowledge the lack of play-makers at the Wide Receiver position, for Donovan McNabb.  The Cavs front office seems to ignore the fact that the Cavs lack immensely in the athleticism department, in the front-court.  Shaq is an upgrade to a very immobile Center position, but what about help along the wing, or a low post defender?  Shaq may average 2 blocks for his career, but has never been known for his defensive prowess. 
 
With all the potential talent hitting the free agent market this summer, I can’t help but think there’s a better option for the Cavs.  The Cavs are in a difficult predicament, with over 31 million dollars tied up between the three lackluster big men on the current roster.  However, players like, Rasheed Wallace, Hedo Turkoglu, Shawn Marion, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest, & Trevor Ariza, would all be huge acquisitions for the Cavs.  Rasheed Wallace would be more of a fit in the middle for the Cavs, versus an aging, and talent declined Shaq.  With a lack of traditional big men in the East,  players like Shawn Marion, Lamar Odom, or Ron Artest could fit in perfectly at the Power Forward position for Cleveland.  Yes, Shaq could result in a championship next season for the Cavs, if he’s able to stay healthy.  However, Shaq has one year left on his contract, and most likely, one year left in the tank.  If the Cavs are hopeful to retain the services of LeBron James after this season, some sort of hope for more than one title should be the aims of the Cavs’ front office.  Is Cleveland ready for the Diesel, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
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Comments
5 Responses to “It’s A Bird…It’s A Plane…It’s…Shaq?”
  1. Marcus says:

    While I whole-heartedly agree that Shaq is DEFINITELY not a long-term answer, I think he will be what they need in the short-term. With one more season in the tank, I think Diesel (if he can stay healthy) would go all out for the ring. Also, he’s won 4 championship rings on 2 different teams. He provides experience and wisdom of having been there and done that. He can be a great mentor and help take some pressure of Lebron and Mo Williams. He also gives the Cavs a year to find his replacement after he retires. Assuming they win the chip next year, their prospects and ability to pull in a great long-term solution will be even higher. I think it’s a good move for right now.

  2. Marcus says:

    and also remember, he will want to leave the game not only with a chip, but with the title as #1 highest scoring center in the record books. If he can win that chip against the Lakers in the finals next year, well…that’s just the icing on the cake. Shaq will be hungry in Cleveland.

  3. H.Reid says:

    Shaq to the Cavs would definitely help them reach the Finals. However Shaq against a healthy Bynum and a confident/ aggressive Gasol, I’m not sure. But if you add one more solid big man to the front-line and the chip is as good as taken by King James and Crew.

    Varejao is solid off the bench but as you saw in this year’s playoff run an athletic 3 and 4 killed the Cavs and Varejao/ Wallace/ Ilgauskus were getting baked by Lewis/ Turkolu/ Howard. I still think they need one more piece and Varejao is not it, I’m hoping that they get rid of Wallace/ Szcerbiak/ Ilgauskas/ Smith and sing an athletic PF to go along with Shaq if they indeed get him. That’s just my two cents.

  4. H.Reid says:

    One thing I forgot to add is that for a ring and a chance to play with one of the best players of all-time, players are willing to negotiate contracts and make it happen however they can.

  5. Reece says:

    Shaq is an upgrade from what they have now, but they need more pieces like a taller swingman that can match-up with Orlando Boston and L.A. I’m not going to go on a long rant because the off-season is here and when moves are made then I’ll make some predictions. But I really don’t see any negatives to a trade for Shaq especially if this is the trade.
    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=msbvd9.

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