Shaq is traded to Cleveland…Does he become the new Digital Underground of the NBA?

June 25, 2009

When I first heard that the deal was finalized, I had this song going through my head…

I love young Tupac, being wild, funny and lyrical with Digital Underground providing comic relief and a flow that keeps you in a summer mood.  I will also take this time to give a belated birthday shout out to Tupac, who would have been 38 this June…

Born June 16th 1971

Born June 16th 1971

Shaq is chasing fame and it is fleet of foot.

hopefully, its for nothing that would make your parents cringe...

hopefully, it's for nothing that would make your parents cringe...

Fame must be one of those things that once you have it, you constantly crave it, like getting upgraded to first class accommodations.  He is still a big enough star to help force a deal. This is a deal that I can get behind for both teams, for different reasons. The Los Angeles Times is reporting what seems to be a done deal now…

If the deal is done today, it will be remembered as the day the Clippers got Blake Griffin (that’s nice) and the Cavaliers got Shaquille O’Neal (HOLY MT. OLYMPUS, SHAQ AND LEBRON JAMES TOGETHER!).

gsgHopefully, the look on Shaq’s face isn’t because he is going become a stinker for Cleveland and LBJ. I mean he is moving from the “magic potions” that the Suns used to keep him in shape…

The deal being discussed is similar to the one they discussed at midseason, with the Cavaliers getting a center, and the Suns getting cap relief.

The package the Suns would take back, according to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, is almost comical: Ben Wallace, who’s retiring and may accept a buyout; Sasha Pavlovic, whose salary is only partially guaranteed, and the 46th pick in today’s draft.

Shaq gets to upstage the entire NBA draft!  We don’t look at the draft as the Blake Griffin show, now the discussion has to be about Shaq and LBJ.  But, Shaq is the master of this type of self promotion…remember this?  (BTW I thought it was smooth…)

Here is the reason why I love it for the Cavs.  It shows LBJ that you were serious about getting him some more help.  What you gave up was not in the core rotation, so that is undisturbed.  The matchups still remain the same and this team won 66 games last year.  The teams that you have to watch out for still remain the same in Boston and Orlando.

Boston right now is hard to predict, because it sounds like they are about to undergo massive upheaval.

• The Rajon Rondo trade talk is still alive despite Danny Ainge‘s attempts at spin control. In speaking to the media Tuesday, Ainge was pretty adamant that if the Celtics trade Rondo, it will be to make their team better and not because of any problems with Rondo.

I’m not sure I totally buy that. Rondo was the best player for the Celtics in the playoffs, a triple-double machine and the bridge between their present and their future. How would trading Rondo away make the Celtics better?

I’m more persuaded by what several league sources told me about Doc Rivers‘ relationship with Rondo. They say Rivers has told them Rondo is “impossible to coach” and “stubborn.” The worry is that if the Celtics give him a big contract extension next year, he’ll be even more unmanageable in the future. So the Celtics are trying to trade him now, while his trade value is high, to avoid a very difficult decision a year from now.

So, you are a triple double machine AND the team is taking offers for your services?  That reinforces that you are a piece of meat…unless you are KG or Paul Pierce.  Rondo, hopefully you are going to come back humble and hard working.  But your reputation preceeds you.  That is why my dad was a big believer (actually had to take the time to email him and say what up…) in saying that your word is the most important thing that you posess.  Here is what Bill Burt posits about Rondo

Everything was going too swimmingly for Rajon Rondo.

Starting point guard for the Boston Celtics. World Champion. Reebok commercials. Triple-doubles galore. Recognition as the next “great” point guard.

All by age 23.

This is the same Rajon Rondo who, on draft day in 2006, drew this comment from ESPN college basketball expert Jay Bilas, “The problem is he can’t shoot.”

Rondo still can’t shoot, but he can run an offense.

Now comes the dirt.

He’s pig-headed. He’s not a leader. He’s been tardy too many times to games, including a playoff tilt. And, maybe worst of all, he wants to be among the richest players in pro basketball.

And lest I forget, he still can’t hit the open jump shot.

Clearly, you are getting a little to big for your britches.  With that type of movement possible ( not to mention that Ray Allen is looking for a three year extension, which is making management offer his services around with Rondo) makes the Celtics window of dominance potentially shrink.  Here is what your coach and GM have said about you in the past. (Thanks to Bluegrass State)

“He’s stubborn,” Ainge told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullen. “He doesn’t always take direction well. He’s very bright and knows what he needs to do to be successful. But sometimes he doesn’t understand what the team needs to be successful.”

Earlier in the season, head coach Doc Rivers said this to Rondo:

“Do you know your teammates hate playing with you? … The point guard has to be the guy that brings energy to the team. You can’t be the guy that sucks it away. Your moodiness is affecting us. Change it.”

For that reason, the Celtics are not the team that you attempt to build your team to beat, you clearly have to beat the Magic to contend for the Crown.  With Shaq, you can have an effective counter to Dwight Howard.

The other thing is that you preserve your other talented center, Big Z.  Now, he can be regulated to only playing about 20-25 minutes.  This allows Cleveland to be more flexible.  With Shaq, they have a tremendous low post presence.  You can pound the ball down low, trolling for easy shots and silly fouls on Howard.  While this is not the best strategy late in the game if you are behind, it can be an effective way to foul out Howard and get fouls on people coming over to double team.  That killed the Magic against the Lakers.

The second look that it provides is allowing the Cavs to have the Eastern Euro look, without having to actually have greasy Europeans on your team.

two greasy Euros for the price of one... Sasha Vujacic of the Lakers and Fabricio Oberto formerly of the Spurs (recently traded to the Pistons)

two greasy Euros for the price of one... Sasha Vujacic of the Lakers and Fabricio Oberto formerly of the Spurs (recently traded to the Pistons)

Now, the Cavs can have a lineup that can spread the floor and allow LBJ to be the facilitator.  The Cavs do some standing around with LBJ, watching him work.  If you can space the floor with some shooters and make it suicide for a team to double, that might be the impetus to get LBJ and the Cavs into the NBA finals.  ESPN gives another reason to like the deal…

The Cavaliers also were in talks with New Orleans about obtaining Tyson Chandler. If they had not made the trade for O’Neal, they would have traded for Chandler, according to a source.

The Cavs believed O’Neal was the better option because he has just one year left on his contract, and will not eat up cap space that will enable them to pursue players such as Chris Bosh in next summer’s star-studded free-agent class.

It’s all about flexibility and preserving options to keep LBJ at home. Plus, Chandler doesn’t have enough bump in the trunk to deal with Howard.

I like this for the Suns as well.  Shaq dominated the ball while he was in Phoenix.  When he touches the ball, it slowed down the “beautiful game” style that Steve Nash and Leandro Barbosa like to play, with the influenced D’Antoni/Nolan Richardson 4ominutes of hell/7 seconds or less type of play.  Both styles are not going to be enough to get the Suns past the Lakers.  The question is will that style get them past San Antonio, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Utah  and New Orleans.  There is obvious a lot of talent in the West.

Losing Shaq comes with some financial and emotional rewards with Phoenix.  First, they do not have to trade Amare.  This gives them some money to play around with.  It also keeps him happy.  I don’t think that Amare enjoyed the second fiddle role with Shaq in tow.  The financial rewards are explained in the ESPN article.

For the Suns, the O’Neal trade is a straight salary dump. Pavlovic’s $5 million contract next season is only partially guaranteed, for the amount of $1.5 million.

Factor in the disparities in the contracts among Wallace, Pavlovic and O’Neal, and the team will save $4.5 million next season.

However, factor in the savings the Suns will reap on the luxury tax, and it will be closer to $10 million in savings. That would be amplified if Wallace decides to retire and the Suns buy him out of his contract for less than the $14 million he’s owed next season.

Phoenix is the Wu-Tang of the NBA right now.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

and it helps to kick start the rebuilding process that needs to happen.  Grant Hill and Steve Nash are past their prime days and are close to the pasture.  It is time to restock and reload.  Lopez was a great catch last year, but you have to develop some more talent and stop selling your draft picks.

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