Friday, February 20th, 2009 at 11:00 am  |  48 responses

What Might’ve Been: Shaq to Cleveland

by Marcel Mutoni

Trade Deadline Day came and went without anything major going down, but it certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying. Had the front offices in Phoenix and Cleveland been able to work the details out, the NBA could have been a very different-looking place this morning.

For a few hours yesterday, the possibility of LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal joining forces seemed very much frighteningly real, until it wasn’t.

From the Plain Dealer:

Most of the talks today centered around Phoenix center Shaquille O’Neal. It was thought the Cavs were offering Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic, but the Suns were asking for Szczerbiak. The Cavs then tried to find another team to get involved, but couldn’t make anything work.

Szczerbiak said he had been a little bit nervous the last couple days and was reading newspaper and Internet reports. His reaction matched that of the rest of his teammates, who were lighthearted and joking around once the deadline finally came and went.

That would’ve been an interesting trade, to say the least.

Of course, “interesting” and fiscal responsibility — to say nothing of simple logic; why bring in an element like Shaq when you’ve had so much success with your current squad? — have little to do with one another, so GM Danny Ferry wisely pulled his finger off the trigger.

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  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ BETCATS

    i wish this would have happened. But oh well

  • http://lacuevacrosscountry.com Slick Nick Da Ruler

    Best Trade Ever. Almost

  • Diggy

    Lebron will have to wait til 2010 to play with a good big man

  • jay

    it would have meant 1 title….

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    I actually think this could’ve ended poorly I mean Bron is at his best when he’s thundering down the lane which would be a lot more difficult with the Big Widebody clogging isht up. It was nice to think about, but I think the Cavs were smart to not make ths move. Although, I think they should’ve made some type of move with Wally’s contract.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    if shaq was on the cavs, it would really show fans that kobe is more SKILLED offensively than Bron- Shaq would clog the lane and not give Bron room to drive at will

  • Diggy

    It could’ve been like Miami.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ BETCATS

    Justin, dont you think if Lebron drived ‘at will’ every time he could, he would average 70 points a game?

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Mutoni is my man, but I disagree with his take here. I think Shaq and the Cavs would have been a great fit. Possibly could have won back-to-back titles.

  • http://www.bbaxn.com Darksaber

    pic accompanying this story on the mainpage? Best nba moment in years. Still youtube that danceoff from time to time.

  • Prison Mike

    I was really looking forward to Kobe beating Shaq & LeBron in the Finals. Two birds with one stone. Oh well. Go Lakers/Celtcs rematch!

  • http://www.bbaxn.com Darksaber

    i’m quite sure this would have worked. Lebron isnt that much different in his driving prowess than The Wade of the championship year in miami. Wade just added a consistent jumper last summer. Shaq being quite nimble and even willing to improve his main weakness (need i spell it out) would have been a great starter on the cavs. A banging center compared to Z’s finesse style. So sad this didn’t happen.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    …Although DWade sure made getting to the cup look easy, even with Diesel holding it down inside…
    I guess we’ll never know. And Kobe may be more “skilled” offensively as walsh said, but I still think Bron is a better teammate and would’ve found a way to make it work on both sides of the ball.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ BETCATS

    Big Z and Big Ben<Big Aristotale

  • Donn

    I agree with you Ben…sometimes you got to roll the dice. I know he’s not the dominant Shaq of old anymore but the fact that they didn’t do this trade because they wanted to keep Wally Sckrjoaefnsda;flibiak is crazy to me.

  • Juliusj14

    Wade had a consistent midrange jumper before last summer. His midrange bankshot was unstoppable against the Mavs in the Finals. He just could never consistently shoot threes.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    This would’ve been awesome to see. Oh well.

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  • http://theghostofroyhobbs.blogspot.com Mo Charlo

    Cosign slick nick

  • http://allanzuss@yahoo.com Mendel

    they should have let Wally go, what can I say. It was all a dream….

  • underdog

    So they basically didn’t give Wally up for Shaq?

  • http://www.commuto.com SteveA

    Amare is out for 8 weeks. Torn retina. Shame.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Whoa! When did that happen Steve? Amare should’ve kept thos goggles on!

  • Young Chris MP3

    That trade wouldn’t have been fair to the rest of the league…

  • http://www.commuto.com SteveA

    Just heard it. Seems legit concerning who I heard it from. We’ll see soon enough. And yeah, he should have kept the goggles on like the docs ordered.

  • http://www.commuto.com SteveA


  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Cleveland didn’t need Shaq or VC to begin with. Team chemistry is a hard thing to build, and the core of this Cavs team has been to the NBA Finals 2 years ago, and the conference finals just last summer. They added a very good if undersized backcourt, and thankfully gelled over half a season to great success. Jettisoning a part of their cast for an aging VC/Shaq would’ve seemed like a good idea on paper, but they cleverly didn’t do it.

  • Erik


    Your source is correct as ktar.com (the local ESPN radio station and where Suns games are heard) confirmed the surgery.

    I’m glad the Suns did not make the trade even more now.

    Possibly no Garnett and definitely no Amare on Sunday? Bleah.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    Z would have played the 4? Ummm.. I dunno.

  • http://www.nba.com JE

    Would’ve been Kobe vs. Shaq in the Finals.

  • http://www.bbl.org.uk Josh D

    2. Is Danny Ferry mad, if i could get Shaq by getting rid of Sczerbiak i would pull the trigger immeadietly

  • lauri

    Man,Big Z is Really underrated,he’s been healthy lately and has been great,but he is on his last legs

  • Anthony

    I think the reason the deal didn’t get done is because of the contract difference between Wallace and Sczerbiak. Wally’s contract expires this season, which the Suns wanted. Ben Wallace’s contract expires next season, along with Shaq’s, which is what the Cavs wanted.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    i’m extremely disappointed that the trade fell through. imagine all the badmouthing he’ll have regarding to Kerr, giving himself a new “BIG” nickname, inventing a new Godfather character in reference to Bron. the possiblities would have been endless.

  • http://blogs.myspace.com/originadro witness

    szczerbiak sucks. why would you not trade him? pavlvic is better than szczerbiak and they were willing to give him up?

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com Dutch Rich

    I’m going to play grammar sheriff. BET, will you please clean up your 11:16.

  • http://phoenixsunsrising.blogspot.com/ Hersey

    From what I’ve read and heard, it was Sarver to turned down the Cavs. Cleveland wanted Shaq. I’m glad Phoenix didn’t do it because they still have a quality big with Stoudemire out.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    It’s not about Wally Z the player, but Wally Z the cap relief. Now, they can let him walk this summer and sign a FA straight up.

  • https://twitter.com/Neuronautuk mat smith

    did not happen, point over.

  • MalevolentKing7242

    lebron would get no point inside with shaq thare. not only that but the teams offense would be heavely restricted. Plus shaq looks bad in a cavs uniform

  • http://www.kicksonfire.com Anton

    Apparently the Suns wanted Szczerbiak and Pavlovic and Cavs GM Danny Ferry only offered Palovic and Wallace. Fail.
    Shaq would have fit in just fine, transition buckets are hard to come buy in the playoffs, he’s not disrupting Amare’s game in Phoenix, and would have been a valuable presence in the lane.
    F*ck team chemistry, winning is better.


    haha @Anton….chemistry wins championships….i think teams have proved that…teams that have the best regular season doesnt mean they’ll win the championship…..

    but still this would have been a interesting trade….cavs would have gotten a good deal out of this…that would have settled their half court offense…would of been SCARY!!!…but why are people saying that he NEEDS a big man…dont forget that BIG ZO is a all star…hes over 7ft….one of your top scorers…and BEN WALLACE is also a former all star and DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR….i think people have forgotten that

  • http://fdklf.com Jukai

    My one fear with this was how Big Z and Shaq would have played together, as well as Varejao (who NEEDS a driving lane. Notice how Ben and Anderson never play together, because Ben being in the lane hurts Anderson’s offensive game). I did NOT worry about Lebron’s game hurting with Shaq in the lane. Lebron’s game thrives on his passing abilities. With Shaq in the middle, double teams would be impossible on Lebron, as he’d just toss it down deep.
    Man, Big Z and Shaq would be odd to see.

  • David Curran

    thats all they needed to lift dem over boston…trade shuda happened

  • Ignarus

    Cleveland doesn’t have Phoenix’s trainers- you’d be getting the broken down Heat version, but older. Dude doesn’t know how to take care of himself, needs smart medical people to keep his legs under him.

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  • Patrick

    “Wisely pulled his finger off the trigger” huh? Yea..you sure nailed that one

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