News » Shaq may be among those making offseason move

Shaq may be among those making offseason move

Shaq may be among those making offseason move
Now that we're almost finished crowing about Kobe's ability to reach the NBA mountaintop without a boost from Shaq, it's time to revisit the circumstances that created the four championship rings already worn by Mr. O'Neal.

OK, we have three big assists from Mr. Bryant in Los Angeles and one crucial pull on the rope from Dwyane Wade in Miami. Now we're all atwitter over speculation that Shaq could be on his way to Cleveland for a title-seizing excursion with perimeter superstar LeBron James.

Finding another athletic three who can specialize while Kobe and Pau Gasol assume responsibility for killing a defense is easier than identifying a replacement for Odom.

Lamar is 6-10 and as versatile as a can of tuna, making him able to defend the post and the perimeter on one end, score on the post, drive to the cup and run the offense for the Bench Mob on the other. He also makes a deep shot now and then (finish higher on your release, L.O.!), but — at 29 — is five years older than Ariza.

Anyway, 6-10 Swiss Army Knives are rare in the NBA.

But another charter member of this slim category is Orlando forward Hedo Turkoglu, whose agent just made a declaration of contractual independence. So, instead of working for the Magic at $7 million and change next season, Hedo is expecting to be hired for considerably more than that.

The Magic hierarchy, which may find itself on the cusp of the doomsday expectation for the luxury-tax limit without Turkoglu's final year added in, may need to bite the bullet or think of some creative financial maneuvers. One cost-cutting move would be embracing Anthony Johnson as the backup point guard for re-embraced starter Jameer Nelson and moving Rafer Alston, the marvelous temp who has $5.2 million due next season.

Alston did a tremendous job after arriving from Houston, where the Rockets reportedly are shopping Tracy McGrady and the $23 million-plus remaining on the getaway year of his deal.

Interested suitors must balance the Rockets' anticipated personnel return with T-Mac's ability to synchronize the expiration dates of his skills and contract.

The McGrady issue is complicated by the looming free agency of Ron Artest, who may have earned another multi-year offer somewhere by not attacking a single fan while working in Houston.

Any discussion of baggage must include the Los Angeles Clippers, who have several ugly contracts blocking the low-post area now reserved for No. 1 draft pick Blake Griffin. The crowd in the key includes Zach Randolph, whose two-year, $33 million price tag and sterling reputation could make him as difficult to trade as a liver sandwich in an elementary school lunch room.

Throw in center Chris Kaman (at three years and $33 million), mix in point guard Baron Davis (four years, $54 million) and you'd swear Barney Frank has been working as the team's general manager.

Our next stop is Detroit, where Awful Investment has replaced Allen Iverson as what is represented by A.I.

Maybe he'll join a want-ad-reading, reality-show cast that includes Barry Bonds and Plaxico Burress. But now that Iverson is out and cap room is in, the Pistons reportedly are ready to abet Carlos Boozer's escape from Utah. The big question is how much can a bad economy handle the prospect of overpaying a really good — but far from great — power forward.

In Denver, the threshold-huggin' Nuggets must decide if Chris "Birdman" Andersen would seem quite as lovable making considerably more than the tick-under $1 million he cost them this past season.

While we gnash our teeth over the economic challenges NBA teams face in the summer of '09, let's not forget the gigantic shadow cast by the Huge Free Agent Summer of 2010.

OK, trading James or Wade to avoid losing them to free agency next year is out of the question. But the same question has reached Toronto, where power forward Chris Bosh — who hasn't exactly dragged the Raptors toward glory — is considered a legit threat to scram.

The franchise has insisted that trading Bosh is a cruel move it wouldn't spring on its fans.

But at least they have socialized health care to deal with aftermath.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: June 17, 2009


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