View Full Version : Shaq traded nah but sanjose mercury news columnist sure thinks it could happen?

06-06-2003, 02:18 PM
Has Shaq outgrown L.A.? And if so, where does he go?
Tim Kawakami
Mercury News Staff Columnist

AFP/File/James Nielsen

Los Angeles Lakers Shaquille O'Neal

Trade Shaquille O'Neal? Insanity!

Yet you will hear serious whispers about this maybe in a few months, probably by the middle of next season, certainly by this time next year, when the Los Angeles Lakers tumble out of the postseason again.

Dump the NBA's most dominant big man? Heresy!

But Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was traded when he was 28. Wilt Chamberlain was traded twice, when he was 28 and 31. Middle-career goliaths need new lands to conquer, and the league is revitalized when it happens.

O'Neal, who left Orlando as a free agent for L.A. when he was 24 and is 31 now, should have six or seven years left of dominance. But he has gotten sluggish after three championships in L.A., his career expectancy lapsing from Epic to Possibly Abbreviated By Boredom.

The whole Shaq-Kobe Lakers dynamic has grown stale (hello, Game 6 embarrassment against San Antonio), and the Lakers will figure that out soon enough. Clearly, Bryant, who turns 25 this summer, is a franchise player increasingly restless in O'Neal's shadow.

Plus, the NBA could benefit from splitting up two superstars who no longer need each other -- in fact, who probably will hinder each other's efforts -- to vie for championships.

So Shaq must be traded to save the league from countless future Junes in San Antonio, New Jersey and, gasp, Cleveland.

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, and right now, Shaq outweighs them all.

You couldn't possibly put together a deal that would make the Lakers as good or better without Shaq than they are with him! The teams that traded Wilt and Kareem didn't!

Oh, but I can and have.

The key to this is Bryant, the kind of transcendent superstar that was not present on the post-Wilt Warriors and 76ers and post-Kareem Milwaukee Bucks. Hey, it's not like the Lakers would be trading away their best player.

When O'Neal was hurt this season, Bryant proved he can lead the Lakers. He has an opt-out clause after 2003-04. He will be more likely to flourish -- and to remain a Laker -- if they surround him with exciting talent, instead of the current flotsam and jetsam collection created by the salary-cap-clogging O'Neal contract.

The only way to rejuvenate the Lakers' roster is to exchange O'Neal's $26 million salary for more Kobe-friendly athletes, and I have just the financially feasible deals:

Shaq to the Chicago Bulls for Eddy Curry, Jay Williams, Jalen Rose, Eddie Robinson and the Bulls' No. 1 pick.

Summary: It's an altered version of the deal Chicago might offer the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Garnett.

Lakers view: Go from slow and thin to deep and rambunctious. But unless Curry becomes a very good center very soon, they could also be far away from title contention. An exciting risk.

Bulls view: A slam dunk. Lineup would feature O'Neal, Tyson Chandler and Jamal Crawford.

Shaq to Minnesota for Garnett.

Summary: Perfect salary-cap swap.

Lakers view: Garnett and Bryant, together? Are you kidding?

Timberwolves view: Garnett can opt out next season; though O'Neal might hate the cold, anything that lands a megastar for the long term is beneficial.

Shaq to the Detroit Pistons for Ben Wallace, the No. 2 overall pick, and many extras to fill out O'Neal's salary-cap slot.

Summary: Only the draft availability of 7-foot-1 Darko Milicic makes this possible.

Lakers view: Bryant might average 40 points with Wallace rebounding and defending and Milicic blooming as Arvydas Sabonis lite.

Pistons view: O'Neal, Larry Brown, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Chauncey Billups . . . How fast can executive Joe Dumars say: Yes, yes!

Shaq to the Houston Rockets for Yao Ming, Cuttino Mobley, Eddie Griffin, Maurice Taylor and extras.

Summary: O'Neal loves the town.

Lakers view: The best deal for them. Bryant-Yao combo could be dominant immediately.

Rockets view: Probably wouldn't do it, but Shaq-Steve Francis duo is worth a thought.

Shaq to the Indiana Pacers for Jermaine O'Neal, Ron Artest, Austin Croshere and extras.

Summary: Free agent Jermaine O'Neal would have to agree to a sign-and-trade deal.

Lakers view: Similar to the Bulls package, only with more experienced players.

Pacers view: Shaq, Al Harrington, Jonathan Bender, Reggie Miller . . . That's better than what they've got, since they're probably losing Jermaine O'Neal, anyway.

And just for fun . . .

Shaq to the Warriors for Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, Mike Dunleavy, Adonal Foyle and extras.

Summary: Arenas would have to agree to a sign-and-trade, and he definitely would.

Lakers view: Bryant and Arenas? More tantalizing than practical; they're left with a small team that wouldn't win the West -- or beat the Warriors.

Warriors view: O'Neal, Jason Richardson, Troy Murphy, Erick Dampier, Jiri Welsch, Earl Boykins (if he's re-signed), possibly Luke Ridnour as a draft choice . . .

Insanity. Foolishness. And by June 2004, one of these deals (except the last one) might be a lot closer to reality than you could have dreamed.


Crazy sure but shaq is approaching 31.

06-06-2003, 03:24 PM
When O'Neal was hurt this season, Bryant proved he can lead the Lakers.

Uh....no he didn't.

06-06-2003, 03:43 PM
Its a slow news day every once in a while you have to pull a story out of your ass.

Chicago JK
06-06-2003, 06:08 PM
Ridiculous. Shaq was a little overweight this year, but was still a top 5 player. And he is the only player in the league no one has an answer for. The Lakers will be back next year. Shaq getting older is a concern, but you don't trade him. I say he comes back in shape next year.

06-06-2003, 06:55 PM
What next Shaq for Popeye?

06-07-2003, 01:07 AM
or better yet Shaq for our 2nd rounder