Okay, the headline is a little misleading — according to a report by ESPN.com’s Marc Stein this afternoon, the Cleveland Cavaliers are not close to acquiring Shaquille O’Neal from the Phoenix Suns.
But it is at least newsworthy — particularly from the Eastern Conference rival Celtics’ perspective — that the Cavaliers have seriously explored acquiring the inimitable and somewhat rejuventated Shaq to join forces with superstar LeBron James.
As first reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Brian Windhorst, the Cavs offered Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic in exchange for the 36-year-old O’Neal, who is averaging 17.3 points and 8.8. rebounds per game this season.
However, Stein reported that the deal is unlikely to be pulled together by the 3 p.m. trade deadline. Further, the Suns wanted Wally Szczerbiak and his expiring contract included in the deal in place of Wallace, since a Szczerbiak/Pavlovic package would allow them to trim roughly $19 million from their payroll next season.
So for now, it looks like nothing more than a fun rumor.