Shaq To Cleveland. Another Mistake By The Lake?

Shaquille O’Neal will join forces with LeBron James in Cleveland next year. On paper, that would seem to alter the league dynamics and the balance of power. After all, when Shaq was in Miami with Dwayne Wade, that was good enough to bring a championship to South Florida; and LeBron James would seem to bring everything to the party that D-Wade does… I don’t doubt that the Cavs have helped themselves via this trade because they didn’t give up anything to acquire Shaq. Consider:

    Ben Wallace: For those of you who think that Shaq’s best days are behind him, think about Ben Wallace.

    Sasha Pavlovic: To be polite, I’d say he has been disappointing to date. To be less kind, I’d say he should be renamed Pavlovian because he’s been a dog.

    Second round draft pick: Most NBA second round picks wind up in the D-League.

However, I am not yet ready to concede that the Cavs will be a juggernaut in 2009/2010 and that they will roll through the playoffs. Here is what I will concede, however.

    If the Cavs start slowly next year and find themselves at or near .500 in mid-December, they will give themselves a new coach for Christmas. This trade is a table setting for a championship and nothing less.

Here is one area where the Cavaliers are unquestionably at or near the top of the NBA – - the combined age of their centers. Ilgauskas is 34 years old; Shaq is 37 years old.

Meanwhile, CBSsports.com reports that there is another NBA trade percolating. This trade is almost the antithesis of the Shaq-to-Cleveland deal. In this rumored trade, two lowly teams seem to be interested in exchanging pieces that just do not matter. The report has it that:

    The Knicks will part with Quentin Richardson. I doubt that will cause great weeping and gnashing of teeth amongst the folks calling into WFAN in NYC.

    The Grizzlies will part with Darko Milicic. Supposedly, his contract expires at the end of this year and that creates more cap room for the Knicks in what fans expect will be a spending frenzy next summer.

You will excuse me for failing to try to delve into the subtleties and the impending front office machinations these two organizations have planned next. Given the recent trading history of these two teams, it will be unusual for either one to come out on top in this deal.

I need to reset the background for this next item. Unless you live in the Dallas area or are a member of the “Chicken Fried Nation” as Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram likes to refer to Dallas sports fans, you probably have not been following the kerfuffle about whether or not Tony Romo has received some tough-love from the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator about getting in better shape or not. In the Dallas papers, this has been kind of a big deal. The latest head-shaker comes from Tony Romo himself who said:

“I’ve been coached the same since I’ve been here. There’s no different style or way. I mean, if you need to be coached to be good or great, then you’re probably not going to be good or great.” 

Excuse me. The coaching provided by Bill Parcells is the same as the coaching provided by Wade Phillips? One of the monikers hung on Wade Phillips by Jennifer Engel in the Star-Telegram is “Coach Cupcake”. No one ever thought Bill Parcells was a “cupcake”; some may have thought he might have chowed down a few too many cupcakes in the past, but no one thought he was a cupcake.

I also don’t get the assertion that Romo makes about the lack of importance of coaching to become “good or great”. Consider:

    Michael Jordan’s greatness came to the fore when he teamed up with Phil Jackson as his coach.

    Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have swing coaches.

    The top tennis pros have coaches too – and the coaches attend most of the key matches. There are even rules in tennis to limit “coaching” during matches.

    Gymnasts and track and field athletes all have coaches. If the ones who become great would have done so without the coaching, why did they waste all of that money and put up with all of the coaches’ nonsense?

In a shocking development, the US men’s soccer team beat Spain in the Confederations Cup. Spain was ranked #1 in the world by FIFA at the time. The last time the Spanish team had lost an international match was in November 2006; since that game, they had been undefeated in 35 matches and had won outright their last 15 matches in a row. The final score was 2-0 – - a comfortable margin in international soccer. You would have to credit US goaltending to a large extent for this win; Spain had 22 shots on goal while the US only managed 9. On Sunday, the US team will be in the finals of the Confederations Cup against the winner of the Brazil/South Africa match. I never saw that as a possibility…

Finally, here is an observation from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:

“Ex-NFL quarterback Bernie Kosar filed for bankruptcy protection last week, citing debts of $1.5 million to the Browns, $3 million to his ex-wife and $9 million for real estate loans.

“Football historians immediately declared it the mother of all three-and-outs.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

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Comments

  • JJC  On June 25, 2009 at 10:31 am

    And here I thought that when TO left Dallas it would be a while before self aggrandizing statements appeared in the press. From players that is.

    Shaq still plays basketball? Learn something new every day.

  • Ed  On June 25, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    …so who gave the Spaniards the Qaaludes? You do some great coaching?

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On June 25, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    JJC:

    I suspect that self-agrandizment is something that is in the water in Dallas. Exhibit #1 is Jerry Jones…

    Ed:

    I was not in South Africa to deliver the ‘ludes to the Spanish water bottles. I will be in South Africa next month but the Confederations Cup will have been awarded by that time.

  • Rob  On June 26, 2009 at 12:24 am

    A friend of mine suggested that part of the reason Ben Wallace was a much better player in Detroit was because there where players like Rasheed Wallace and Chauncey Billups who made sure he kept his focus on the games. Perhaps those qualities that make Sheed technical prone also make him a great locker room motivator. But it probably says as much about Ben that someone constantly has to “get on him” to get him to play at a high level.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On June 26, 2009 at 7:31 am

    Rob:

    Don’t know what the “Detroit magic” was but Ben Wallace was a far superior player in Detroit than he was before going there and after he left there.

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