Dime/Levi's Draft Suite - Hasheem Thabeet Q&A
Dime/Levi's Draft Suite - Tyler Hansbrough Q&A

Shaq and LeBron rain on Kobe’s parade, and the NBA Draft is here

By 06.25.09
Shaquille O'Neal (photo. Chenoa Maxwell)

Shaquille O'Neal (photo. Chenoa Maxwell)

So much for that leisurely victory lap for the Lakers. While the LAPD was still kicking stragglers out of the Coliseum from the championship parade, two of the biggest threats to a Lakers’ repeat just got a lot more threatening. First the Spurs bought Richard Jefferson from the discount bin on Tuesday, and then last night, the Cavs went and got Shaq … Total money move for the Suns, who got Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic out of the deal. They’re probably gonna buy out Wallace, and Sasha is a practice player for them. But you have to assume now that Amar’e Stoudemire‘s place on the team is safe, since they don’t have to unload his salary and he’s the only legit inside threat on the roster … Is Shaq automatically the best teammate LeBron has ever had? Pretty much. No, this isn’t MVP-level M.D.E. Shaq, but he’ll still give you 17-18 points and 8-10 boards a night, with the occasional 25-point, 15-rebound game thrown in. Most importantly, he’s another dangerous offensive option, somebody teams have to account for instead of focusing 100% of the defensive game plan on LeBron. Like it or not, Shaq gives Cleveland a real shot at the 2010 ‘chip. And if they can win 66 games with Zydrunas Ilgauskas in the middle, you don’t have to worry about Shaq slowing the Cavs down … You know the worst part of Shaq-to-Cleveland? The inevitable overexposure. You can book it right now that at least three or four national magazines will stick Shaq or Shaq and LeBron on the cover of their 2010-11 season preview issue without even thinking. As soon as the trade was made, one of the Dime crew e-mailed, “I’ll bet everybody $1 million that ESPN is gonna show Shaq’s Twitter response to the trade ASAP. And if he hasn’t posted one yet, they’ve got some research assistant locked to a computer refreshing Shaq’s Twitter every three seconds waiting for it.” … Wednesday’s other big trade had the Warriors shipping Jamal Crawford to Atlanta for Acie Law and Speedy Claxton. Either Nellie can never have too many point guards, or this means he’s definitely sold on taking a big man in tonight’s NBA Draft, i.e. Jordan Hill … Crawford could play PG for the Hawks if they lose Mike Bibby in free agency, but we’re seeing him as a Ben Gordon/J.R. Smith-type scoring two-guard who can start or come off the bench. Since Joe Johnson is big enough to play the three, you can run a crunch-time lineup of Bibby-Crawford-Johnson-Josh SmithAl Horford. Good move for ATL …

Brandon Jennings

Brandon Jennings

When you tune in to the NBA Draft tonight, stay with DimeMag.com, as we’ll be live-blogging the whole event throughout. We’ve got guys on the floor literally right next to the stage and the Green Room, we’ve got guys backstage with Dime draft diarist Jonny Flynn, we’ve got guys watching at home on TV, and we’ll have guys in the crowd at MSG with the Knicks crazies. We’ve got it all covered, better than anyone else in the game … The Dime/Levi’s Draft Suite is also up and running, and damn near every rookie-to-be who’s in New York dropped by yesterday to eat, drunk, play video games, get some gear, get a haircut, or just hang out with the Dime fam. During the day we also got a few pre-draft interviews in, from Brandon Jennings to Jordan Hill to Austin Daye … At the NBA’s draftee media session, poor Daye was playing the Patrick O’Bryant role — hardly anybody was talking to him and he didn’t seem to have anybody rolling with him. Nice enough kid, but is there any doubt he’s gonna be the last one sitting in the Green Room? … Everyone is predicting the Wolves will use their 5th and 6th picks to work a trade with Memphis for the 2nd pick, but Minnesota GM David Kahn insists that’s not the case. However, the fact that James Harden snuck out of New York the same night as the Randy Foye-to-Washington trade to do a workout for the Wolves tells us otherwise. Harden is expected to be picked by the Thunder if he’s there at #3, so why would he get in a last-minute workout with Minnesota unless he’d heard they were moving up to second? … A couple significant player moves in college ball: First, Jeff Jordan (Mike’s son) quit the Illinois squad after two years as a little-used backup, saying he’s gonna focus on just being a student. And at Duke, freshman guard Elliot Williams is transferring to be closer to his family in Memphis. Not sure if that means he’s transferring to Memphis, but you’d have to assume so. That’s very promising news for Coach Cal replacement Josh Pastner, even though he wouldn’t get Williams until the 2010-11 season … We’re out like the Acie Law era in Atlanta …

TOPICS#LeBron James

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