Broussard, after talking with sources inside both the Cavs and Suns organizations, has since written that a deal is not imminent
Talk between the Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Cavaliers of a trade that would have Shaquille O’Neal playing with LeBron James next season has not gone beyond the preliminary stages and no deal is imminent, two executives with knowledge of the discussions told ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard. The clubs have not spoken within the past few days, but sources say talks of a possible trade involving O’Neal, Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic never completely died after it was first discussed in February.
As with any trade, there are obvious pros and cons to the deal. As noted by Broussard and first reported by the Arizona Republic this morning, the trade is a pure financial move for the Suns who would get Ben Wallace’s expiring contract (and potential buyout possibilities in the event he does actually retire) and Sasha Pavlovic’s contract. Suns owner Robert Sarver has consistently tried to build his team on the cheap and nearly succeeded in advancing to the Finals on more than one occasion. With that being the case, the obvious advantage of the deal is that the Cavs would be losing two “non-contributing core” parts and adding what would most certainly be a starting center and a core piece of the team.
The Cavaliers built their team this year to beat the defending champion Boston Celtics. As we all know, that never happened and they are now looking for pieces this offseason which would address the problems exposed by the Orlando Magic last month. Acquiring Shaq would be a clear move to help against Dwight Howard in the paint who the Cavs clearly had no answer for last month. One point of caution, however, would be Shaq’s defense against the pick-and-roll which the Magic utilized so well with Hedo and Howard. In this instance, I am not sure Shaq would be much of an upgrade over Z as he has had trouble defending the pick-and-roll in the past. In numerous other obvious ways, Shaq is an upgrade over Z and it would certainly be enticing to see Z come off the bench.
Some think this would be a reactionary move of “desperation” designed to take one last shot at a title before LeBron leaves next year. As Scott noted this morning, the trade would essentially tie up the Cavs roster for the year and hinder their ability to make any sort of trade during the season (like say…Chris Bosh). This would most likely be the final product we go to war with next postseason. I personally think this would be a good move and could only improve the roster of a team that already had the best record in the league. I assume most of the fanbase wants this deal to go through as it would energize the organization and fans after a depressing exit from the playoffs. What say you?