The 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.