Shaquille O'neal wearing the Wine and Gold. No matter what you think about Shaqtus, the fact that he will be playing for the Cavaliers has to excite you, at least a little bit. O'Neal gives the Cavaliers exactly what they have been missing, a true force at center that wants to stay in the paint. As much as I respect Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Anderson Varejao, their games are predicated on staying away from the rim, especially on offense.
Shaq also provides the Cavs a legitimate scoring threat inside as well. Don't believe me? Just look at the numbers --
|2008 - Shaquille O`Neal||75||30.0||6.8||11.2||60.9||0.0||0.0||0.0||4.1||6.9||59.5||2.5||5.9||8.4||1.7||2.2||0.7||1.4||3.4||17.8|
Now, here are the numbers for Z and Andy --
|2008 - Zydrunas Ilgauskas||65||27.2||5.3||11.1||47.2||0.2||0.6||38.5||2.1||2.7||79.9||2.4||5.1||7.5||1.0||1.4||0.4||1.3||2.8||12.9|
|2008 - Anderson Varejao||81||28.5||3.3||6.2||53.6||0.0||0.0||0.0||1.9||3.1||61.6||2.0||5.1||7.2||1.0||1.0||0.9||0.8||3.0||8.6|
Shaq can still bring it on offense, especially when he is motivated. O'Neil knows he is in the final year of his contract, and he has already talked about wanting an extension. Oh, and he knows that his legacy will receive a huge boost by playing with the three best wing players of this generation - Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and now LeBron James. If he could win a Title with all three, that would do that much more.
From a risk standpoint, for the Cavs, this is a slam dunk - pun intended. Shaq has one year remaining on his contract at $20 million. That gives the Cavaliers incredible flexibility, this season and beyond. The deal has done nothing to effect the contract situation heading into next summer, and should the Shaq/LeBron partnership not work the Cavs have a HUGE expiring contract to dangle at the trade deadline.
Does anyone thin it won't work, though? LeBron James is the most UNselfish player in the NBA. Shaq, nearing the end of the line, knows who is in charge in Cleveland. He also knows that Kobe Bryant just won his 4th NBA Title, tying Shaq. This is Shaq's best chance, perhaps last chance, to get his 5th ring. A motivated Shaq is still a dominating Shaq.
Of course, from a pure entertainment stand point, the Cavs are assuredly must see TV. Even before the game starts. As a friend of mine put it, "The Cavs are now the greatest team in NBA history...at Intro's. Can't wait to see what LeBron and Shaq do during the introductions at the Q. I'll check out your blog for your thoughts on the trade. The best thing I read about it is they wanted a 1 year deal so they are free to go after Chris Bosh when he's a free agent in 2010. If (hopefully when) LeBron re-signs, I think Bosh is a great #2 star on the team"
Thanks, Andrew, I couldn't have said it better myself!