June 25, 2009

Suns trade Shaquille O’Neal to Cleveland

The Phoenix Suns dealt 15-time all-star center Shaquille O'Neal to the Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday, hours before the 2009 NBA Draft.

The Cavs sent center Ben Wallace and swingman Sasha Pavlovic, along with their second-round pick in next year's draft and cash to the Suns, and an ESPN report said they will save $10 million in salary cap space.

The Cavaliers hope the deal is the final piece to getting star LeBron James at least to the NBA Finals.

It is a really unique and rare opportunity to bring in a player of Shaq's caliber, said Cavaliers General Manager Danny Ferry. We are excited to see how his presence, experience and play positively impacts our team.

The 37-year-old O'Neal, in the last year of his contract, won the MVP Award in 2000 and led the Los Angeles Lakers to three straight titles (2000-02), but was slowed by injuries before he rejuvenated his career last season averaging 17.8 points and 8.4 rebounds in 75 games.

He also helped Miami win the NBA title in 2006.

If Wallace retires, the Suns could save an additional $14 million.