Two of the NBA's biggest superstars will join forces next season. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns have agreed to a deal that sends Shaquille O'Neal to the Cavs, who now hope the 7-foot-one center is the big man LeBron James needs to finally win a championship.
The deal sends Ben Wallace, Sasha Pavlovic, a second round pick in today's draft and $500,000 to the Suns. The trade has been agreed upon in principle, and is expected to be finalized later today.
The Cavs were favored to make the NBA finals this year, but they lost to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals. The inability to stop Magic center Dwight Howard contributed to the defeat, and led to the trade for Shaq.
Cleveland is hoping to make James happy enough to stay in a Cavaliers uniform. He will be an unrestricted free agent following next season, and several teams are clearing cap space in order to make a run at the superstar. Shaq's contract is also up after next season.
The 37-year-old O'Neal is clearly on the downside of his career. Still, he averaged 17.8 points and 8.4 rebounds in Phoenix last season, and remains a force on the basketball court.
The question is: Was this move a season too late for Cleveland or are the Cavs now the favorite to dethrone Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers as NBA Champions?