Will the Cavs revisit Shaq trade this offseason?

Obviously, it depends on how they fare in the playoffs, but if the Cavs fail to win a championship this year, and Shaq is still healthy and producing, they may revisit the trade that almost was.

Phoenix looked ready to do it for the low, low, bargain price of Wally Szczerbiak and Sasha Pavlovic.

However, instead of Szczerbiak, whose $13.5-million-a-year deal is expiring, the Cavaliers insisted the Suns take Ben Wallace, who has one more season at $14 million left.

Oh, and Shaq, who’s still broadcasting his love for Phoenix, is saying privately he wants out, upset to the highest level of upsetivity, as he once said, at almost being traded, or the team’s return to running, or both.

If Shaq were to end up in Cleveland next season, motivation wouldn’t be a problem. The main issues are his age (37) and his knees. Phoenix owner Rod Sarver is in a tough financial position, but a summer trade would require him to take on equal salary for the 2009-10 season (in the form of Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic?), so he might as well hold onto Shaq if the big fella isn’t causing a ruckus. Cleveland’s best and cheapest shot at Shaq was the Szczerbiak-and-Pavlovic deal that apparently wasn’t good enough for the Cavs.

Cleveland could revisit this trade in the summer, but since Shaq’s deal will be expiring next season, the Suns won’t be nearly as motivated to move him. They may ask for a young prospect and/or draft picks to make a deal work, and that’s a more expensive package than the one the Cavs just passed on.

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Much Ado About Nothing: The 5 Biggest Trade Deadline Teases

You can blame it on the Grizzlies.

Ever since they traded Pau Gasol to the Lakers for a bag of peanuts and some slightly used underwear, NBA teams have become more and more fickle about pulling the proverbial trigger. With the state of the economy, and some owners desperately trying to cut payroll before the cap and luxury tax thresholds decline, it’s a buyer’s market out there. And those buyers are looking for Gasol-type deals. On the flip side, Chris Wallace took all kinds of grief over that trade and general managers around the league don’t want to follow in his footsteps.

After two or three weeks of covering all of this trade chatter, the biggest deal to speak of is the Shawn Marion/Jermaine O’Neal swap and that happened almost a week ago. Sure, guys like Brad Miller, Andres Nocioni, John Salmons, Rafer Alston, Larry Hughes, Tim Thomas, Chris Wilcox and Drew Gooden changed zip codes, but I doubt any fans out there are sporting wood at the idea that one or more of these players is joining their team.

This year’s trade deadline was mostly about teams setting themselves up financially for the next two summers of free agency. Even though there were a number of big names bandied about, the Marion/O’Neal deal is the only semi-blockbuster trade of the season. And, barring some last-minute, late-breaking deal, we have these five teams to blame…

5. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs were in talks with the Nets about acquiring Vince Carter and also spoke with the Bucks about Richard Jefferson. Either of those players would have been a nice addition, but the Spurs just don’t have the pieces (or the balls) to pull off a trade like that. They were willing to trade for Carter, but they didn’t want to give up Roger Mason or George Hill. So they offer the Nets Bruce Bowen and Fabricio Oberto. Great, the numbers don’t even add up. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t really think that the Spurs should have given up Mason and/or Hill to acquire Carter. They’re arguably the second-best team in the West and their current lineup, if healthy, is likely to give the Lakers fits if the two teams meet in the playoffs with a less-than-100% Andrew Bynum. Plus the Spurs are notoriously conservative when it comes to messing with their chemistry. Jefferson wouldn’t have been a problem in that area but Carter might have been. So the Spurs stand pat. Shocker.

Read the rest after the jump...

NBA trade rumors: Shaq to Cleveland?

6/16/09 Update: For discussion about the more recent Shaq rumors, click here.

6/25 Update: Shaq has been reportedly traded to Cleveland.

The trade deadline is at 3 PM ET today, and the rumors are flying fast and furious. I’m not going to spend too much time on each one, but here’s a rundown of the rumors…

Yahoo! Sports says that the Cavs are considering acquiring Shaquille O’Neal at the cost of Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic. I’m not sure what the upside is here for the Suns other than the fact that they’d get about $5 million in cap relief next season when Pavlovic’s salary comes off the books.

– The NBA league office apparently sent out a memo warning of drastic reductions in the salary cap and luxury tax thresholds, which may have a few teams scrambling today.

– There was some talk of a Tracy McGrady-for-Baron Davis deal, but that rumor seems to be dead.

– The Suns are reportedly still trying to pry talent away from the Grizzlies, offering up Amare Stoudemire for Mike Conley, Rudy Gay, Hakim Warrick and a 2009 first round draft pick. Unsurprisingly, the Grizzlies have declined.

– The Bucks are trying to get out from under Richard Jefferson’s contract and they’ve been making some headway with the Blazers and Cavs about Raef LaFrentz and Wally Szczerbiak, respectively.

– The Cavs have been trying to pry Antwan Jamison away from the Wizards, who might be more willing to deal today with the news about the (possible) significant drop in the luxury tax threshold.

– The Vince Carter-to-the-Spurs talk has died down because they don’t want to give up Roger Mason or George Hill in the deal. Apparently, they want the Nets to give Carter away.

Deadline day is like a poker game with 20 people playing. Teams are holding out until the last minute hoping that they can get the best deal. Complicating matters is the state of the economy and the financial strength of the NBA. There could be a flurry of trades today or everyone could stand pat.

NBA trade deadline scuttlebutt

Rich Bucher reports that the Warriors have offered up Andris Biedrins and Anthony Randolph for Chris Bosh, and presumably made a similar offer to the Suns for Amare Stoudemire…J.A. Adande has a source that says that there is a “zero” chance that Stoudemire lands with the Raptors. It seems that Toronto is just not ready to move Bosh, even for a shot at Amare…Henry Abbott says that while most teams are overvaluing their players right now, there are two teams — Golden State and Chicago — that are ready to deal…The Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports that the Suns may actually prefer Tyrus Thomas over standout rookie Michael Beasley…NorthJersey.com says that Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Cleveland are all interested in acquiring Vince Carter, but that it’s unlikely that the Nets will send him to an Eastern Conference team…Cleveland.com reports that since the Cavs will be without Sasha Pavlovic for 4-6 weeks that the team is probably going to stand pat with the roster they have. Wally Szczerbiak has been playing better of late and the team believes in its roster… David Aldridge says that despite their denials, the Clippers are very interested in trading Chris Kaman.

Lakers beat Cavs in impressive fashion

The Cavs were up 61-51 at halftime, but a 22-8 run to start the third quarter put the Lakers in control of the game, and they went on to win, 101-91. That run included an 11-0 spurt at the start of the quarter, and Mike Brown failed to call a timeout to stop the bleeding. After all, the Cavs are still a young team, so they are not as adept at playing through adversity as, say, the Celtics, Spurs or even the Lakers. I kept waiting for Brown to call a timeout but it never happened, and in many ways, that shift of momentum at the beginning of the second half was the difference in the game.

But it didn’t help that LeBron James shot 5 of 20 from the field. He had a near triple-double (16 points, 12 assists, eight rebounds) but he’d be the first to admit that he didn’t play very well. It’s not often that the Cavs get 57 combined points from Mo Williams, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Wally Szczerbiak and still find a way to lose, but they did just that today.

After the loss of Andrew Bynum for 8-12 weeks, the Lakers have to feel great about completing this five-game road trip with consecutive wins against the Celtics and Cavs. Kobe was apparently battling the flu, but still managed to outscore LeBron (with 19 points) and hit a crucial rainbow jumper with just 2:48 remaining to put the Lakers up six. Lamar Odom (28 points, 17 rebounds) continues to play big basketball in Bynum’s absence, and is doing wonders for the contract that he’ll be signing this summer as a free agent.

So with a 1-3 combined record against the Celtics and Lakers, do the Cavs make a move with Szczerbiak’s expiring contract or do they stand pat and hope for the best? I think they have to do everything they can to win a title (or at least get to the Finals this year) if they hope to keep LeBron next summer, but clearly they have to hold out for a deal that has a great chance to make them better. I think they could package Szczerbiak with Hickson (and maybe a first round pick or two) and get themselves an impact big like Jermaine O’Neal.

Is that worth the risk? Well, O’Neal had 22 points, nine boards and nine blocks in a recent loss against the Lakers and his contract expires in 2010, so it wouldn’t affect the team’s cap flexibility in the long term.

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