Speed Read: Shaq To Cavs … The Dance Begins

Shaquille O’Neal is now a Cleveland Cavalier, and according to this, he found out about the trade via Twitter. So the franchise’s quest to acquire a suitable playmate for LeBron James, not to mention bring the city its first pro sports title in 45 years, seems to be serious this time. And all it cost the Cavs was Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic, plus the 46th overall pick in tonight’s NBA Draft. Oh, and the final year of Shaq’s contract at $20 million.

Shaquille O'Neal, LeBron James

The Cavs have agreed in principle to the trade, according to multiple sources, in what is seen basically as a cost-cutting move by the rebuilding Suns, who will save around $9 million in salary and luxury taxes in the deal. The Suns get $500,000 from the Cavs in the deal, could save even more if Wallace accepts a retirement buyout. The Cavaliers had also been in talks to acquire Tyson Chandler.

So what does this mean for Cleveland? At 37, can Shaq really make a sudden impact? He seems a more natural fit for the Cavs than he did with the roadrunner-like Suns. And Cleveland does need a center.

O’Neal’s addition also provides Cleveland with some much needed size in its frontcourt. The Cavs couldn’t stop Orlando center Dwight Howard in the Eastern Conference finals, losing the series in six games and seeing a 66-win regular season and deep playoff run come up short.

O’Neal can still bang inside, which is why Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry tried to acquire him before the trading deadline in February. Ferry and Suns GM Steve Kerr are former NBA teammates and good friends.

Hmm … I wonder if the deal includes the rights to Inflatable Ben Wallace? That would be a sticking point with me, and I’m sure is the reason why they couldn’t get this done before the February trading deadline.

Inflatable Ben Wallace

Well, at least Cleveland won’t have to wait long to see who it gets with that No. 46 pick. It’s NBA Draft Day, in case you’ve forgotten. Tall men will be trying on new caps beginning at 6 p.m. EST, and here’s a pretty good live blog in which to track the action. What happens after Blake Griffin goes at No. 1 to the Clippers is anyone’s guess (um, Clippers, please do not blow this), with at least one site’s writers picking Ricky Rubio going anywhere from No. 2 overall to No. 8.

Meanwhile, ping! Paul Mainieri, ping! who was hired by LSU in 2006 to bring the program back to greatness ping! ping! can now claim mission accomplished. LSU beat Texas 11-4 in the deciding Game 3 of the College World Series for its sixth NCAA championship since 1991 and first since 2000 ping! ping! ping!

Sean Ochinko’s two-run single highlighted a five-run sixth for the Tigers. That’s reliever Louis Coleman and catcher Micah Gibbs on the bottom of that pile there.

If you’re the guy who called 911 — twice — to request a police escort to see the Lil Wayne concert, congrats … and welcome to jail. Here are some links to pass the time.

  • Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak put an end to the rumor that Phil Jackson might only coach home games for the Lakers next season — which was officially the dumbest idea in sports when Jackson floated it earlier this week. “What he said, he didn’t mean it to sound the way it sounded,” Kupchak said. “If he comes back to coach, he will come back and coach both home and away games.” Still to come: A contract in which an athlete only plays in home games. Your move, Scott Boras.
  • This is kind of the last thing you’d expect at a Colorado Rockies game in Anaheim, but an off-duty cop shot two men whom he said were attacking him in the parking lot. One got it in the chin and the other in the arm in the incident, in which the cop said he was walking to his car with his wife and two small children.

  • Your two-year project of building a Foosball game with players consisting entirely of Barbie dolls is now obsolete (throws down tools in disgust). Above we have “Barbiefoot” by french designer Chloe Ruchon, created in partnership with Mattel and Babyfoot Bonzini. “Barbiefoot” was part of the DMY youngsters exhibition at DMY Berlin Design Festival ‘09.

Tiger Stadium demolition

Does the addition of Shaquille O’Neal equal an NBA title for the Cavaliers?

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