A title would be Shaq's fifth, and put him one ahead of Tim Duncan and on par with Bryant, who won one without O'Neal.
O'Neal also wants to play beyond this season, when he is due to make $20 million. What better way to earn another two-year contract than to play well for the Cavs, in Cleveland.
The Cavs don't have to re-sign him, but they could if his play deems it worthwhile.
If they don't — and they probably won't — they still can use all the salary cap space they've reserved for 2010 to add a different standout to play with James.
But more than a player, the Cavs acquired a presence. Think about it. How many players can cast any kind of shadow on the presence of James?
He's the guy who said he wanted to be known as "The Big Aristotle."
The guy who has mastered Twitter.
The guy also known as Superman, the Big Diesel and Shaq Fu.
He's funny, engaging — and enjoyable to have around. He competes, but he enjoys himself, too.
He earned his degree from Louisiana State and stood up and said how it mattered to him, that now he had security and could "get a real job."
Then he added: "LSU now stands for Love Shaq University."
Yes, "can you dig it?" returned then, as well.
This might help James. It might be a huge help to him, in fact. No longer will James have to be the media spokesperson. No longer will his every move be scrutinized. O'Neal will be around to deflect some of that attention — though, it still will be LeBron's team.
The scene of fans thronging to his arrival in Miami after his trade from the Lakers to the Heat remains magical.
There he said of himself: "I'm like toilet paper, toothpaste and certain amenities. I'm proven to be good."
For good measure, Shaq won a title with the Heat.
Can he do it with the Cavs? That remains to be seen. But many reports during the day said that James told the Cavs to get it done.
Clearly James had his fill of Howard establishing position a few feet from the basket and scoring at will in the playoffs.
In fact, in overtime of Game 4, he nearly lost his cool when Varejao swatted at the ball while guarding Howard instead of fouling Howard.
Howard might dunk on Shaq, but it sure won't be that easy that often.
There will be plenty of time to analyze this trade in more refined basketball terms. Plenty of time to see if Brown is up to handling these two all-timers on his team (though it wouldn't seem that difficult given the attitudes of both players). Plenty of time to discuss defensive assignments and how Zydrunas Ilgauskas fits in.
But right now it might be time to rearrange the budget to buy tickets.
Because seats for 2009-10 will go like lightning.
It also might be time to take a step back and realize that the Cavs won 66 games last season and already have filled one of their biggest needs.
Might it have happened sooner, at the trading deadline in February?
Maybe — but that deal wasn't as close as it seemed.
It happened Thursday, and the Cavs now have the elements to provide one wild ride for the next 12 months.
We can all dig that.
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