Cleveland and Phoenix were both juggling multiple trade possibilities with other teams, with the Cavs involved with as many as six trade scenarios.
Yet the disappointing Eastern Conference finals loss to the Orlando Magic left Cavs GM Danny Ferry with incredible pressure to accumulate talent around James in the final season prior to his 2010 free agency. James has blessed the O’Neal trade, especially because it should give his overmatched frontline a chance to compete with Dwight Howard in the playoffs. Ferry and Phoenix GM Steve Kerr are close friends and had talked off and on about a Shaq deal since the February trade deadline.
O’Neal, 37, makes $21 million next season, and the Suns were determined to move him in a package that would save them money. Wallace made $14 million and could take a buyout to retire, and only $1.5 million of Pavlovic’s $4.9 million salary is guaranteed.