July 24, 2014

WSJ: Shaq and LeBron’s Marriage Doomed?

shaq-cleveland-cardThe move that brought Shaquille O’Neal to the Cavaliers has come with much fanfare, but it has also drawn a lot of scrutiny.  The Cavs were exploited by the sharp-shooting Orlando Magic last season and set out to make moves that would position them better of the upcoming year.  While they did not add the upper tier stretch forward that they had hoped, there is no denying that the team got better.  And one of those reasons is because of the presence that Shaquille O’Neal will bring in the low post.

But not all will be roses, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Hannah Karp.  Karp expounds upon the egos that will be featured in The Q this year as it is somewhat rare to have two worldwide superstars on the same team.  And while there will be a debate on whether O’Neal is the “answer” to the Cavaliers’ problems from a basketball perspective, the WSJ prefers to look into the behind the scenes aspects; mostly from the point of the newly acquired O’Neal.

Mr. O’Neal is no stranger to public feuds with teammates. He jockeyed for the spotlight with Penny Hardaway in Orlando during his early days in the league and feuded constantly with Kobe Bryant while playing for the Lakers—even though they managed to win three championships together. Mr. O’Neal demanded a trade in 2004, complaining that Mr. Bryant had too much power, though now he says their feud was merely a publicity stunt.

There was no talk about the recent media barbs between Shaq and his former teammate Steve Nash, but they did mention the David Beckham bit (without noting that it was for O’Neal’s television show). 

Thankfully, Karp also examined the other side of the coin by declaring that similar goals tend to make things “work.”  In this case, said goal would be a championship for the city of Cleveland.

In typical WSJ form, there were quotes from sociologists, psychologists and couples therapists.  Oh, and Bill Walton.

“You can never have too many good players on one team,” [Walton] says, adding that one of the few things Mr. O’Neal can teach Mr. James is to lighten up. “LeBron can still learn how to enjoy it – Shaq has a great way of making it fun.”  

Personally, the fact that the two players have not exchanged more than a few text messages does not concern me.  It has become pretty obvious that each man has quite a schedule during the offseason; O’Neal with his television shows and endorsements, James with the release of More Than a Game as well as his new shoe line.  I would love to find a team that hangs out together socially all summer long after spending the previous nine months together. 

Did Dwayne Wade take Michael Beasley condo shopping?  Did Kobe Bryant go on vacation with the Gasol family?  Sure, O’Neal is a new addition to the team, but it isn’t like he hasn’t played with a star before.

Whether or not this “arranged marriage” works out will only be decided by one thing: a championship banner hanging from the rafters of Quicken Loans Arena.  Of course, the team can opt to move O’Neal by the trade deadline if things did notwork for the better, but as a fan, one cannot help but be excited to see what these two superstars can do together once the orange roundie hits the hardwood.

Is This Basketball Marriage Doomed? [WSJ]

  • mgbode

    I think it will work for one simple reason. Shaq is desperately trying to stay relevant as his career winds down and he looks to continue to pursue things outside of basketball.

    he is smart enough to know that being on LeBron’s team heightens his exposure at this point (like he did for so many players in the past).

  • AMC

    As has been said here before, and as has been alluded to by LeBron himself, there’s no way this deal gets done without LeBron being on board. Both Shaq and LeBron have chips on their shoulders. They will make this work.

    And in the even that it doesn’t, Scott astutely points out that Shaq becomes a $20 million dollar piece of cap relief for another team.

  • ben

    IMO the article is a big to-do about nothing.

    1) As Scott said, teams aren’t chilling all summer long. While “chemistry” is important in teambuilding, this is their job. They are on vacation. How often is LeBron texting anyone?

    B) When Shaq starts having “beef” with teammates, it’s a year or two down the road from his initial joining. He has a bit of T.O. in him that way. L.A., Miami, Phoenix…it’s all sunshines and rainbows the first year or so. And frankly, the “first year or so” is all that matters right now, since Shaq’s out of the game after that.

    3) Everything on this team happens w/ LeBron’s consent. It is what it is. The front office doesn’t even pretend it happens any other way. If LeBron didn’t want Shaq, the Cavs wouldn’t have him here. It’s that simple.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    When I want hard-hitting sports analysis, I always turn to the WSJ.

    Also, I’m sorry but the Akron MTAG custom LeBron shoes look like pure crap. DC is still winning that one.

  • Dave

    another man trying to bring cleveland down

  • Harv 21

    Getting sports predictions from WSJ is like getting investment tips from WFNY.

    And Walton now presumes to impart advice that LeBron needs to crank up the fun-o-meter. Right. Anyone who remembers Walton’s demeanor on the court is more likely to think of Zydrunas, or Mt. Rushmore, than Shaq. LeBron looks like he has more fun out there than anyone since Magic.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    @ Harv – Buy, buy, buy! What should you buy – STOCKS!

    You can thank me when you’re rich. I’ll take 10%, pls.

  • MrCleaveland

    Aw, who cares what some woman at the Wall Street Journal in New York says about the Cavs? What does she know?

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    “Getting sports predictions from WSJ is like getting investment tips from WFNY.”

    I take offense to this…

  • JM

    Wall street Journal is a New York paper. Wow I am shocked they are anti Cleveland

  • Janet

    Hannah, thanks for your opinion. We all know they only way this will work is for all the champs to move to NY.

  • D-Train

    it’ll work. it’s only for a year. i think it’s pretty much assumed shaq is probably not returning either way, whether it works or doesn’t…

    but he’s in a contract year, no way he rocks the boat.

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