Shaquille O’Neal Joins the James Gang
Shaquille O’Neal will join LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers next season after the Phoenix Suns agreed to trade the future hall of famer today.
Shaq is a 15-time NBA All-Star and arguably the most dominant centre in basketball over the last 20 years. He’s won four titles with two different teams. Three of those titles came with Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers and one with Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat.
Although he’s 37 years old and the Suns failed to make a run in the playoffs last season, Shaq posted averages of 17.8 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. He also averaged 30 minutes per game and shot .595 from the charity stripe, the second best free throw percentage of his career.
"Shaq is an incredible ballplayer and a four-time NBA champion," LeBron James told The Associated Press. "I have a lot of respect for him and his game. It will be a real honor to play with Shaq as my teammates and I look forward to another great season with the Cavs."
The trade will definitely throw fuel on the fire of the rivalry developing between Shaq and Orlando Magic centre Dwight Howard. Howard nearly single handedly knocked the Cavs out of the NBA playoffs last season. He’s also adopted the persona of superman, a superhero that Shaq has long associated himself with, namely with the massive superman S tattooed on his arm.
Also involved in the trade are former NBA defensive player of the year Ben Wallace and journeyman Sasha Pavlovic.
So will this move do what it takes to get the Cavs the NBA Championship most experts say they’ll need to keep LeBron in Cleveland? Cleveland General Manager Danny Ferry seems to think so.
“Our goals are aligned with what our players want, including LeBron, and that's to win a championship and win it next year," Ferry said.