The Cavaliers have reached an agreement in principle to acquire Suns center Shaquille O'Neal(notes) for Ben Wallace(notes), Sasha Pavlovic(notes), the 46th pick in the draft and cash, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. Here's what they're saying out in the ether about the big news ...
Brian Windhorst, Cleveland Plain Dealer: "Whether or not this ultimately works, folks stop and think about this. The Cavs just traded for an All-NBA player and a Hall of Famer for Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic, a second round pick in a bad draft and $500,000. Not Delonte West(notes). Not a first rounder. Not J.J. Hickson(notes). This is asset management from Danny Ferry, who has been waiting for a long time to make this deal. That is what he does, he uses his assets to make one-sided deals. How can he do it? Because he has Dan Gilbert writing checks and LeBron packing the house. You can take shots at Danny and have opinions on what happened or didn't happen at the deadline but just step back and look at this trade."
Cavs: The Blog: "This was already the loosest, goofiest team in the league-now we’re adding maybe the loosest, goofiest superstar in the history of the league? Wow. If 'wacky candid team moments' counted on the scoreboard, this would be the equivalent of the Lakers getting CP3."
Kevin Pelton, BP Unfiltered: "The biggest problem for O’Neal for years has been his ability to defend the pick-and-roll, something I watched the Sonics work over and over again in the early part of this decade. At this point in his career, it’s unreasonable to expect him to be able to step out and cut off a ballhandler while getting back to a dangerous roll man like Dwight Howard(notes). Instead, Cleveland will likely be forced to keep O’Neal behind the play at the edge of the paint, giving quicker guards the opportunity to build up a head of steam before blowing by O’Neal. For a team that has prided itself on defense, that is an untenable situation. Even last year, during O’Neal’s bounceback year, the Suns were better defensively when he was on the bench, and it’s hardly as if his backup (primarily Louis Amundson(notes)) is highly regarded for his defense."
Empty The Bench: "From a strictly basketball standpoint, we have one GM stepping up and doing what it takes to push his already deep team further into contention, and the other GM waving the white flag of financial surrender. For Cleveland, Danny Ferry has obviously fortified his frontline by adding a perfect compliment to incumbent starter Zydrunas Ilgauskas(notes). Neither O’Neal nor Big Z seem capable of heavy minutes at this point in their respective careers, so this works out well for both. When the Cavs want to go finesse and stretch the floor with a big who can shoot, they go with Big Z; when they need to hunker down and pit brawn vs. brawn, they insert O’Neal."
The Baseline: "Why isn't this cause for rose-colored riots in the streets? Because even if Shaq continues this modest renaissance of his, this is just a rental. I prefer to think of O'Neal's All-Star 2008-09 as one last gasp of motivation, the crescendo we'd expect of any player not granted special privileges; in any case, time isn't on his side one bit, and it's just about caught up to him once and for all. There is no way O'Neal remains a factor much beyond this next season; if memory serves, he mentioned retiring after this contract on at least a couple occasions. That's not to say he won't be useful for this current Cavs team. However, this trade does nothing to lay the foundation for a dynasty, which is what LeBron should be expecting. It's a smokescreen; even if Cleveland wins a championship, which would be nice and all, come 2010 they'll be right back where they would've been without Shaq. Just up one ring. They then have to inspire faith in James all over again, presumably by making a play for another marquee free agent. That's a lot of ifs, and without a ring, it's just been one big distraction."
Silver Screen and Roll: "This is a terrible trade, because it is not what Cleveland needs. Oh, the talking heads will tell you that what they need is a big, strong presence in the low post, to beef up their front line and provide some inside scoring. And if that were truly what Cleveland needs, then maybe this trade would be a good fit for them. But the truth is that the Cleveland Cavaliers were plenty good enough to win a championship as they were, and what they needed was a coach and an offensive system capable of getting more out of LeBron and his teammates on offense."
HP: "I dreaded the Shaq to Phoenix trade. I knew what it symbolized. The end of SOL. The destruction of Amare’s confidence. The resignation of Steve Nash(notes). The downward slide of Matrix. It was contrary to every effective train of thought. This? This I actually like. Let’s be clear. There’s only one personality that matters in Cleveland and we all know who that is. So there’s a void there for Shaq to fill. To be the Other Personality. The veteran legend. You can’t do that on a team build on philosophical constructs comprised of guys who read Niche and write poetry. You can do that on a team that does camera poses during intros."
Bright Side of the Sun: "One has to wonder what the Suns know about Ben Wallace's intentions. To me the value of this deal really hinges on that. If Wallace accepts a 50% buy out then the Suns end up saving another $7m which gives them enough money to actually go out in the free agent market and sign someone decent. [Marcin] Gortat and David Lee(notes) are options for that kind of money. What are the chances the Suns know right now what Wallace is going to do? I have no idea but it's a HUGE piece of this puzzle."
Heat Daily: "Nobody act surprised. We saw this one coming. The Cavaliers were able to bring Shaq on board, with the primary goal of helping LeBron James(notes) bounce back and win his first title. His mission will be to match up with Dwight Howard, and help LeBron motivate the Cavs after a disappointing ending to their dream season. The question everyone is asking now is, how much does Shaq can do for them? He seemed finished in his last season with the Heat but bounced back big time during last season. Can he continue that?"
Deep Purple: "Chemistry is an issue that will be over looked by many when discussing this deal. Having three 'superstars' on one roster will inevitably cause players to butt heads on and off the court. Shaq’s presence on the Suns not only took away from Amare’s ability to be 'the man,' it also created a question as to whether Shaq was the team’s leader or Steve Nash was. By removing Shaq the locker room and the paint become less clogged by O’Neal’s big body and even bigger ego. Instantly things start to look up for the Suns fast paced offense and there once easy going locker room."
NBA Noise: "Some will point to O'Neal's lack of impact on a Phoenix Suns team, who was in a similar position of being 'one big-man away' from being a real contender. However, O'Neal clearly came into a Phoenix situation that was already in turmoil — wading through conflicting messages and trying to find its style of play and identity. His transition to Cleveland should be much less of a rocky one. The Cavs were a legit championship contender without the addition of O'Neal, and were only buckets away from having their series against the Magic flip decisively in their favor. Adding a player of O'Neal's caliber while giving up two non-contributors is nothing but goodness for Cleveland. You can bet that O'Neal knows he has a real shot of adding one more championship to his legacy, and he will come into this season focused and ferocious."
Valley of the Suns: "The best way to describe Shaq's tenure in Phoenix is that Shaq was that rectangular-shaped Lego piece that you keep trying to jam into a square hole. Sometimes you can cram a piece of it in there and pretend like it works, such as what happened during the short-lived 'Seven Seconds or Shaq' Era, but at the end of the day the piece just doesn't fit. You almost wanted Alvin Gentry to submit to a lie detector test when he kept talking about how great it was to be able to throw the ball down low to the Most Dominant Ever. The thing is Gentry's Suns are built to run guys like Shaq off the floor. Sure, it was nice to get a few easy buckets once in a while, but the Suns cannot compete with Steve Nash and Shaq guarding the opposition's pick-and-roll when his offensive game doesn't mesh either."
Dime: "You know the worst part of Shaq-to-Cleveland? The inevitable overexposure. You can book it right now that at least three or four national magazines will stick Shaq or Shaq and LeBron on the cover of their 2010-11 season preview issue without even thinking. As soon as the trade was made, one of the Dime crew e-mailed, 'I’ll bet everybody $1 million that ESPN is gonna show Shaq’s Twitter response to the trade ASAP. And if he hasn’t posted one yet, they’ve got some research assistant locked to a computer refreshing Shaq’s Twitter every three seconds waiting for it.' ..."
Orlando Sentinel: "Shaquille O'Neal apparently learned about his trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers through Twitter. When Twitter user Alonso Fernandez sent Shaq an @reply saying '@THE_REAL_SHAQ is it true u a CLEVELAND CAVALIER' the Big Twitterer responded '@allonso I didn't hear dat yet'. When DJJTR3Y sent Shaq an @reply saying '@the_real_shaq U CLEVELAND BOUND...shaq found out he was traded thru twitter! lmao....hahahaaaaaa', Shaq responded '@DJJTR3Y I kno right'".