The Reuters global sports blog
On the eve of the 2009 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking toward a storied veteran to propel them to a potential championship. It appears the Phoenix Suns and the Cavaliers have agreed to a long-speculated deal that will place future Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal alongside reigning MVP Lebron James. But is it enough?
Since losing to the Orlando Magic in the conference championships, the Cavs have been looking for upgrades to their lineup and O’Neal was frequently mentioned as a potential target. Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic punished the weak front court of the Cavs and it was evident that a stronger presence was needed.
Shaq had a renaissance year of sorts this season with the Phoenix Suns and was selected to his 15th All-Star appearance. However, having played close to 1,000 NBA games since being selected first overall in the 1992 draft by the Orlando Magic, is O’Neal still dominant enough to give the Cavs the edge they need?
Time is fading until Lebron James must decide whether or not to stay in his home state of Ohio or leave via free agency. It is no secret that the New York Knicks are hoping to have enough cap room to lure away the superstar and give him direct access to one of the largest media markets in the world. Luckily the move poses a minimal level of risk for the Cavs since O’Neal’s contract will expire just in time for the coveted 2010 free agency period.
The man who’s become known as the “Zen Master” for tapping Buddhist teachings has been fortunate enough to coach the likes of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant as they grew into dominant superstars, but rounding their games into championship form was a never-ending battle of wills.
In his 2006 memoir, Jackson refers to Kobe as “uncoachable” for his tendency to try to win games as a solo artist. After breaking the late Red Auerbach’s record to stand alone as the first coach to win 10 NBA championships, Jackson paid tribute to Bryant for his maturity as he accepted his very first MVP award.
Herewith the latest selection from Sports Pictures Editor Greg Bos:
A well executed shot using a remote camera above the net shows Shaquille O’Neill jumping up to score. Lucy Nicholson is one of the best in the business at operating remote cameras to capture great sports action moments.
ORIGINAL CAPTION: Phoenix Suns’ Shaquille O’Neal (top) goes up to slam dunk over Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol of Spain during their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles February 26, 2009. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES)