Los Angeles correspondent Josh Garcia is back with a timely post weighing in on Cleveland's acquisition of Shaquille O'Neal from the Phoenix Suns.
The “Big Cactus” is moving to a cooler climate.
The 37 year old Shaquille O’Neal has been dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Ben Wallace, Sasha Pavlovic and the 46th pick in the NBA draft, happening later tonight. Ben Wallace is on the fence about retirement so to me this is more of a cap space move for the Suns. Shaq is going to make over $20 million next season and I have a feeling he is going to be worth every penny.
After witnessing his ex-partner-in-crime Kobe Bryant win his 4th ring this year, Shaq is on a mission to get in better shape, stay healthy and get "one for the thumb," also known as his 5th championship, which would be one more than Kobe. Despite what may be said in the media between the two, there has to be some sort of jealousy or animosity of some sort. They had a bitter break up in L.A. and Shaq still blames Kobe for pushing him out. I won’t even bring up the rap that Shaq did about Kobe. I know they made up at the All-Star game but come on now, they are still competitive and have large egos.
It’s Lebron’s town, its Lebron’s team. That is well established. Can Shaq be 2nd fiddle in Cleveland? Can Shaq manage to be the Scottie Pippen to Lebron’s Air Jordan? Or more like the Jester to his King. I’m not sure. And what about big Z in the middle? Is he going to come off the bench? Two seven footers could be hard to handle on the court with Shaq’s post game and Z’s outside touch.
More importantly what is Shaq’s new nickname going to be in Cleveland? Shaq’n’roll? Lake Shaqrie? Shaqili? Shaqogie? I don’t know I hear Cleveland has a lot of Chili and Polish foods, not together but who knows. If he throws out the first pitch at the Indians game is he a "Shaqdian?" What about if he lines up next to Braylon Edwards on Sunday, is he "The Big Brown?" Hm, wait let's just hope he doesn’t play football. That’ll be in poor taste. I also hope Shaq won’t say anything about steamers.
I don’t want to get ahead of myself but the early favorites for next year’s finals are Kobe’s L.A. Lakers and Lebron’s Cleveland Cavaliers. I think it was before the trade and now you add Shaq into the mix and it adds so much story and drama that if it doesn’t end up with those two teams at the end it will somehow feel like a bigger letdown than this year after seeing all those puppet commercials with Lebron and Kobe. One thing is for certain, Shaq is going to make Cleveland the center of the NBA and professional basketball world.
With 2010 looming, all eyes will be on what Cleveland manages to do now that they actually brought in some help for "King James."