I'm no Shaq fan at all, but all of the people calling him lazy, poor rebounder, poor at defense, etc. are way off, IMO. He's not in his prime, but he can still dominate for stretches of a game. He averaged 17.8 and 8.4 reb last year.
I am shocked by the negative feelings about Shaq on this board. I think this is a great deal for Cleveland.
They gave up nothing of value and got one of the best post presences in the NBA in return. Think about how many assists Lebron is going to get taking the ball to the D and then just tossing it up for The Daddy to finish at the rim?!?! It is going to be unstoppable!
Shaq may not be a mobile defender, but is an in-the-paint space-eater and enforcer, something Cleveland certainly did not have with Ilgauskas.
What's more -- and here is something I bet very few of you have considered -- Shaq has a $20 million expiring contract at the end of next year. One of the things Cleveland needs to have to keep Lebron is enough money to sign another star to play alongside him in next year's fabulous free-agent class. Suddenly, the Cavs are going to have $20 million to spend on Chris Bosh or DWade or someone else to play next to Lebron (then they can re-sign Lebron, after getting the other star under contract). This gives them a ton of flexibility. What's more, if the Shaq pairing with Lebron is not going well, Cleveland will probably find plenty of takers for Shaq in a trade next year because everyone wants an expiring contract!
This is a fabulous deal, in my mind. I see no downside for Cleveland.
--Jason "oh yeah, all the reports are that Bron-bron is thrilled with the deal... and that is issue #1 in Cleveland" Evans
Don't ask me why, but my mother is making me Tweet. Says it will be good for my career. So, follow my ramblings, mostly on the film industry, @TVFilmTalk
At this point Shaq is pretty much legendary for being unwilling to stay in anything close to game shape. Ask Lakers fans about his unwillingness to even have off-season surgery because he wanted to do his recovery during the season on the Lakers' dime and miss as many games as possible.
He'll get his numbers but there's no doubt that he just killed the fun and gun Suns (who were one really bad call from the Finals before he showed up). I don't think he helps a team and I'd be very wary of having his lazy mentality around a locker room. Lebron made a quantum leap by emulating Kobe's workout regime. Having Shaq as the "veteran presence" is a bad move even if (especially because) everyone will love him.
"I use Viacom as my firearm."
Shaq was not a good fit for the Suns who were a highscoring, high-tempo team that had acquired personnel to do that. Along comes O'neal who is a power, position player. He simply didn't fit; disrupted the flow of the offense on a team that didn't play defense. The Cavs on the other hand don't mind playing solid defense, and taking their time to get a good shot. I agree with others that think this is a near perfect fit for the Cavs.
But Shaq's rep is not some recent propaganda put forward by spurned Laker fans. The Big Makes Ethnic Jokes About Asians has a very long-running and very well earned rep for being incredibly lazy. He's never stayed in shape, which is why he's breaking down so much. If Lebron can motivate him, great. If he gets into LeBron's head, not so much.
"I use Viacom as my firearm."
I'm with Jason - the trade is an absolute steal for Cleveland, and Shaq answers the Cav's most glaring weakness. Ziggy's strength is his nice outside shot, but Shaq is an improvement in every other way. One other thing people overlook about the Big Aristotle (I love that) is his passing out of the post. Cleveland gave up nothing of real value, and if they can upgrade Szczczczerbiak they will be overwhelming favorites to be the #1 team in the East and better than the Lakers, IMHO.
(credit to the locker room at danpatrick.com)
After seeing the Cleveland draft, I'm convinced there are more moves coming. Otherwise I see no reason they passed up on NBA ready players like Blair and Young who would have been steals at 30. I think Blair is undersized but he will still be a damn fine backup and potential starter if he stays healthy.
Picking Christian Eyenga is really a mystery to me. Sure they can leave him in Europe to play, but they could have easily gotten him in the second round, or made a cah considerations trade and picked uhim up from another team.
Cleveland is still weak at PF and the G positions, look for them to be a player in free agency if they have any exceptions or cap space left, or possibly more trades are coming.
I think that's part of the plan. The Cavs didn't acquire Shaq to help them in the regular season -- they'll get a top 4 seed even if Shaq plays every other game -- they got Shaq for the playoffs.
As long as Shaq shows up for the playoffs, the Cavs will be a dangerous team.
Agree with last post. Anyone who saw Howard abuse Ilgauskas in the playoff will realize the Cavs can't get by the Magic without someone who can at least put a body on Howard. Also, against the Celtics, (assuming K.G. is healthy), Shaq will at least push Garnett further from the basket, and put pressure on him (and Kendrik Perkins) on the offensive end. Shaq needs to make a commitment to work on his endurance in the offseason so he won't wear out down the stretch. He might want to drop about 10-15 pounds too to give him a little more speed and endurance.
The 'Shaq is unfit and lazy' meme is complete nonsense. That the man can still contribute at all is an orthopedic miracle.
SupaDave said as much far upthread, but the point bears repeating and expanding. Human joints aren't designed to take the kind of stress that Shaq puts on himself with every step he walks, to say nothing of what happens to his knees and hips every time he runs or jumps.
I agree with Kenny Smith, who likes to say that there's a finite number of miles and jumps in every pair of legs. Shaq could arguably have been more fit at times during his career, but the work that it would have taken to get there is not without opportunity costs; i.e. if Shaq were the fitness freak that say, David Robinson was, his knees would likely be completely cooked by now rather than just 80% cooked.
Many don't cheer for Shaq because he is the goliath. But he is a pretty good guy. I didn't like him early in his career but he has won me over.
The one concern I have for this trade is that Shaq, while still pretty good down low, is pretty slow and might clog the lane when Lebron drives. A faster post can get out of the way and potentially pull away a defender for half a step to make a bit easier for LeBron. That said, LeBron is good enough for it not to matter much but driving teams can use a faster post. For shooting teams the post just needs to clog space and get those Offensive rebounds.
That said, I do believe the trade is a positive because it will force teams to gameplan against more than one player.
There is no downside here that I can see.
Shaq is a physical presence inside offensively and defensively. He can rest the entire regular season if he wants, playing only enough to get a feel for his new teammates. Cleveland needs him to show up for 16 wins in the postseason, that's it. The Cavs center rotation now includes Shaq and Z, that's awesome -- even at this advanced stage of Shaq's career. Imagine how this year's east conference finals would have been different had dwight howard had to contend with Shaq instead of just Z and company. Plus, all of Shaq's salary now comes off the cap after this season, leaving Cleveland tons of room to sign another star player to keep LeBron happy and in town after next season.
Some have suggested that Shaq will clog things up and hurt the Cavs offense. I don't see that happening. the showtime Lakers had no problems operating around an aging Kareem at the end of his career. He just got his rest trailing the others down the floor whenever they had a break and rotated out of the lane whenever other guys made their cuts to the basket.
I don't think this move guarantees a title for Cleveland but I think it makes them the favorite.