Quantcast 2009 Cleveland Cavaliers: Could Shaq end up playing with the King in 2010?


It's A Bird...It's A Plane...It's...Shaq?


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? 

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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 and aging and talent declined Shaq.  With a lack of traditional big men in the East, a player like Shawn Marion, Lamar Odom, or Ron Artest could fit in perfectly at the Power Forward position for Cleveland, while 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.



By: Steve Rivers
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer

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