How Trading For Shaq Will Cripple The Cavs For Years To Come

The web has been buzzing all weekend with rumors of Shaquille O’Neal being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. This deal was first proposed before the All-Star break but never happened for one reason or another. The Cavs would get Shaq and in return, the Suns would receive Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic. Sounds good if you’re Danny Ferry or a Cavs fan, right? I agree, if you’re thinking short term, but let’s dig a little deeper on this one.

Let’s assume that this trade is completed and Shaq joins Lebron and the rest of the Cavs. There can only be two outcomes from this. 1) The Cavs win the 2010 NBA Championship or 2) The Cavs don’t win the 2010 NBA Championship. Let’s tackle the ramifications of #1 first.

It’s June 2010 and the Cavs have been crowned NBA champions. Now what? Shaq is a year older and Lebron is about to decide if he wants to re-sign or sign elsewhere. Well, when he takes a look at what he has to work with for the future, he can’t/won’t be happy. Because the Cavs traded for O’Neal, the rest of the team pretty much stayed the same. So once O’Neal calls it quits, Lebron will be stuck with basically the same team he lost with in 2009 year. Now maybe, just maybe Shaq has enough in the tank for the Cavs to maybe string together a couple of championships, but is it worth it? Especially if you could have found a way to land a player like Amare Stoudamire, Chris Bosh, or Carlos Boozer to play with Lebron for years to come. Maybe you can’t get one of these players, but signing Shaq completely takes away that chance. So even if Lebron did stay (which I think he wouldn’t), it would be pretty hard for him to win titles in the future.

Now, on to scenario #2. It’s June 2010 and the Cavs have once again fell short in their quest for a NBA championship. Now what? Well, it’s almost guaranteed that Lebron will sign elsewhere and Shaq would most likely be moved to a title contender (if he doesn’t just retire). The Cavs would be back to rebuilding.

In this scenario, it’s pretty obvious why Lebron would sign elsewhere. Even with a semi-dominant presence in the middle, Lebron is still empty handed. And the window with the presence in the middle is closing fast (if it hasn’t already closed). So it completely makes sense for him to move on to a team with the cap room that can pair him up with another young superstar.

So to me, this deal is a no win situation. Sure, it could lead to maybe one or two titles, but is it worth destroying the chance at building a dynasty? Danny Ferry should not make this deal, PERIOD. I know it’s tempting because Ferry and the city of Cleveland are desperately trying to make Lebron happy, but this would hurt their chances more than they could ever know.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Shaq is an unrestricted free agent in 2010, the Cavs would (and I have a tenuous grasp of NBA salary rules, but I think this is right) have his number coming off of the books that year. Therefore, they would be able to sign one of the guys you just mentioned (although I don't think Amare is good, LeBron needs someone who can play defense) to be his sidekick for years to come.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If the Cavs don't trade for Shaq they have Ben Wallace, who is likely to retire in a year anyways, and Sasha Pavlovic, who is an off-and-on player (but mostly off) who gets $5 million a year to sit on the bench, why not trade these two for one of the top 3 centers of all-time? Imagine the impact Shaq would have on JJ Hickson, Darnell Jackson, and Anderson Varejao. It seems that you think LeBron is going to leave Cleveland regardless of any and every thing. Lastly, his name is spelled O-'-N-E-A-L not O-'-N-E-I-L.

  3. S. Evans says:

    Actually, I don't think Lebron will leave regardless of what Cleveland does, but I do think that he's looking for the Cavs to build him a team for the future.
    Why not take those pieces you just named and try to get a Chris Bosh instead of Shaq.

  4. Los Brown says:

    Lebron will leave in 2010. As you now know, Lebron is not only concerned about winning, but he wants to be a billionaire by expanding his image and sports agency. There is not a better city in the U.S. to achieve this goal than New York City, regardless of where he plays he will eventually win a championship.

  5. That's what I like to hear Los.The dude is too big to stay in Cleveland.

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