Although Shaquille O’Neal didn’t exactly rain on Kobe Bryant’s championship parade Sunday night, he certainly got to share some of the NBA spotlight as talk of his imminent trade from Phoenix to Cleveland dominated Web sites, television and radio broadcasts.
Let’s clear one thing up right off the bat. The Suns and Cavs haven’t talked at all in the last few weeks about a trade involving O’Neal and any belief that a trade is imminent is total BS.
Now, Cleveland would be an ideal trade partner for Phoenix, but they are not alone in their pursuit of the 37-year-old center as both New Orleans and Dallas have shown interest. The rumored deal involves Phoenix acquiring Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic for O’Neal and depending on the possibility of Wallace being bought out and retiring and Pavlovic also being bought out, the trade could save the Suns, who are well over the salary cap, 10-plus million dollars when luxury tax is taken into account.
But let me be the first to say that the deal as it is being talked about, will not get done. It is not enough for Phoenix and something else will have to be included in the package if it is to happen. The Suns are looking for some basketball value back for a player who was an All-Star last season and could be the missing piece for a team close to a title. With Phoenix not having a first-round pick next year I would expect that the Cavs would have to throw in their 2010 first-rounder to make something happen. A trade with Cleveland could happen, but without the two parties talking it is not going to happen now. And the two sides aren’t talking.
As for Amare Stoudemire, all is quiet on the trade front with the Suns most talented player. If the Suns cannot get a great basketball deal in exchange for Stoudemire they may just decide to keep him and play next season out. So far there are a few teams very interested but no quality offers. With next season being a contract year for Stoudemire – he can opt out after next season – he will more than likely have a huge year, put up great numbers, and try to justify his worth in the league. The Suns could always trade Stoudemire at the deadline next year or with a sign-and-trade after the season is over.
On the draft front, Phoenix would love to move up to have a shot at Memphis’ Tyreke Evans or Davidson’s Stephen Curry, but if they stay at 14 there are several players they have their eyes on right now, including Louisville’s Earl Clark and Terrence Williams, Wake Forest’s James Johnson, Duke’s Gerald Henderson or North Carolina’s Wayne Ellington. Some draft projections have the Suns taking point guard Brandon Jennings, but he is more of a small 2- guard than a true point guard so I don’t see that happening.
And as our morning show duo of Doug & Wolf want the Suns to draft Pittsburgh’s DeJuan Blair, there is a better chance of Wolf making a comeback in the NFL than there is of the Suns taking the Pittsburgh big man.