Published Jul 15, 2004

Shaq’s off to Miami. I don’t approve of that trade at all; it was an awful idea.

The right idea was to keep waiting. Maybe, as the season got closer, some other players could have been shook loose for Shaq. Maybe Kobe could have been convinced that the ol’ purple and yellow would trade Shaq as soon as they got a fair offer that would put good players around the youngster. Maybe Rudy T. could reconcile Kobe and Shaq within a new system. At the very least, doing nothing would mean the big pair wasn’t broken up.

Trading Shaq was always a real challenge. He’s got a rich, rich contract for which it’s almost impossible to get equal value (as the NBA requires). Also, he’s a perennial All-Star who’s likely to head back to the big game for another year or two, and he will remain one of the best centers in the game until he retires, regardless of how much his skills and, especially, his health decline. How do you get true equal value for that?

The answer is, as we see in this trade, you don’t get equal value. So, then, why make the trade? Can it possibly be worse to have unhappy Shaq than it is to have Brian Grant as your center in the West? No. Hold onto the players and trust in Rudy T. to work things out, or don’t hire Rudy T. in the first place. You don’t have a disaster team; you have an NBA Finals-losing team. #2 team in the whole league. And you break that up for Brian Grant and Caron Butler? At least get a Jermane O’Neal or a Dirk Nowitzki. This is a bad trade, but don’t blame Kupchack; when Dr. Buss says “Move Shaq”, the Big Albino has got to do what he’s told.