Sunday, June 14, 2009

Shaq to Cleveland?

You knew this was coming back up. Apparently the trade talks between Cleveland and Phoenix involving Shaquille O'Neal are heating up. The two talked a bit before the trade deadline without getting anything done.

Since then, the Cavaliers flamed out because they had no inside precense to counter Orlando's Dwight Howard (and even if they got past the Magic, they'd have some issues with the Lakers' Gasol, Bynum and Odom). The Suns want to get their payroll a lot leaner.

So a Shaq-to-Cavs deal seems to make sense. Cleveland would get a big man down low who can still score and board and keep opponents from focusing all their attention on LeBron James. All they'd be giving up would probably be Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic -- two guys that didn't really fit into the plans next season anyways.

Phoenix gets to unload Shaq's final year of his contract worth $21M. They'd get back Ben Wallace ($14M) and Sasha Pavlovic ($4.5M). Wallace has already pondered retirement (something that would seem more likely if he is traded). The Suns could work out a buyout for Wallace to save them some money now and they will save $4M by just making the trade ($2M each for the difference in salaries and the luxury tax implications).

Smart trade for all parties involved.

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