That was the question I texted out to everyone I knew this morning.
Here were some of the answers I received in return:
- "I don't think so... drinkin the Kobe cool-aid hard... I think he has more"
- "Yes cause the celtics are getting old and thats the list of possible contenders"
- "I think they might have"
- "Hell no"
- "I believe so"
- "Yes. Unless shaq dies"
- "Champs for sure"
- "Shaq is 37!"
- "Definitely a step in the right direction"
And my personal favorite:
- "My testicles are tingly"
Gotta love my friends.
Now, a couple of my own thoughts on the deal:
1. Whether you like the deal or not or whether it's going to deliver a title to Cleveland or not, you have to understand that after finishing the regular season with the best record in the NBA and then subsequently getting embarrassed in the playoffs, the Cavs HAD to do something. This feels very similar to when the Philadelphia Eagles lost three straight NFC Championships and then HAD to go get T.O. That move obviously worked out and then obviously did not, but the point is that's what they had to do in that moment.
2. I personally like the trade because: (A) Shaq always gets rejuvenated in a new town, (B) He is in a contract year and will bust his butt, (C) LeBron LOVES Shaq so there won't be any "Shaq is relegated to LeBron's sidekick" nonsense - if anything LeBron might even turn himself into Shaq's sidekick. He has always had a lot of respect for the Big Diesel, (D) did I mention that right or wrong, the Cavs HAD to do it?
3. Even though it's a year away, I am salivating at the thought of a Lakers-Cavs Finals in June of 2010. Kobe vs. LeBron AND Shaq would be a match up of movie-like proportions. Seriously, it would take on a "Star Wars"-esque feel right down to LeBron as the up-and-coming Jedi Knight, Luke Skywalker, Shaq as the grizzled old Han Solo, and Kobe as the once great Jedi warrior turned Evil Sith Lord, Darth Vader.
In the 2009-10 season, I will enjoy the Sixers going back to their old school logo and uniforms, I will enjoy going to as many Nuggets games as I can, and I actually believe the Spurs made the best move of the off-season by getting Richard Jefferson, but I AM SALIVATING at the thought of a LA-Cleveland Finals.
4. I have some bad news for Cleveland fans though. If it comes down to the Lakers and the Cavs for the title next summer, I can't see the Rebel forces defeating the Evil Empire this time - and it's not because Kobe is better than LeBron or because Shaq will be old and tired.
What's being lost in the whole topic is that MIKE BROWN IS STILL THE COACH OF THE CAVALIERS.
The man got very badly outcoached by a porn star in the East Finals and then that porn star went on to get very badly outcoached by Phil Jackson in the NBA Finals.
I know a lot of people don't put too much stock in coaching, especially at the NBA level - believe me, I'm one of them - but this year, it was so painfully obvious to watch.
And you know the Cavs know this because there were legit rumors a couple of days after the Finals about Cleveland thinking about firing Brown - and that's after he just had won the Coach of the Year for the season.
I know Phil has had Michael, Shaq, and Kobe - and that definitely helps - but sometimes when teams are so evenly matched at the end of the season, it really comes down to a coach getting creative offensively, making necessary adjustments on both ends of the court, getting the most out of every player, and generally feeling the flow of the game and moving accordingly with it. Phil Jackson has been the best at those things during my lifetime and THAT's why he has 10 rings.
Forgive me for stealing a Simmons' joke here but during the Orlando series, Mike Brown reminded me of the coach in the state championship game of "Hoosier" that just SAT THERE watching his team blow a sure thing.
And this wasn't his first time. I know the Spurs were way better than the Cavs in the '07 Finals, but San Antonio head coach Greg Popovich almost seemed amused running circles around Brown.
This is a real thing people.
I'm sure Cleveland will probably do a good job of managing Shaq's playing time during the season (can't see him playing more than 70 games - if that) and at the same time keeping him in shape for the postseason. The Cavs didn't give up anything for Shaq so they will still be formidable and I'm not going to underestimate a pissed off LeBron.
Other than the Celtics and maybe Orlando (you have to think Boston is going to make some moves - maybe even today), Cleveland will be right there again in the East. But with Jackson, I still think the Lakers are better than the Cavs and with the Jefferson trade as a shot in the arm, I think the Spurs may be the team to beat in the league (Ugh).
So while I have to give the Cavaliers credit for making a necessary move, it just wasn't the right one.