WATERCOOLER CHAT: NBA DRAFT NIGHT

It’s NBA Draft Night, and that means… last minute trades.

Shaquille O'NealWell, in a blockbuster trade on the eve of draft night, the Cleveland Cavaliers made a major move.  They acquired none other than… SHAQ.  That’s right — Shaquille O’Neal is coming to Cleveland, which could be the missing piece that Cleveland needs to finally get over the hump.  The trade sent Big Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic to the Phoenix Suns.  This was essentially a salary dump for the Suns, but a key addition for the Cavs.  Their big problem in the playoffs was defending Superman Dwight Howard.  He just did as he pleased.

The Cavs current center Zydrunas Ilgauskaus is getting older, and this will give Cleveland a dominant force in the center, and also could take some of the offensive load off of LeBron James.  This trade is also, essentially, an admission by the Suns that trading their all-star Shawn Marion for Shaq was a big blunder.  Shaq slowed down the Suns game, and despite an all-star appearance last season, really did nothing for the Suns Championship hopes.  It was a gamble, and it didn’t pay off.  Plus, Shaq is now positioned in the NBA as ‘The Missing Link’.  This will be his 3rd team where he is positioned to be the last piece of the puzzle.

However, in terms of analysis… so what?  Shaq is most likely not the missing piece.  Sure, he’s big and is one of the top centers/players of all-time, but he’s old.  Come playoff time, the Cavs will need more solid pieces in place if they hope to compete with the likes of the Celtics, Magic, even Bulls.  If they don’t win it this year, it’s somewhat possible that LeBron leaves to play elsewhere in the summer of 2010.  He’s loyal to his hometown, but if they can’t give him the units needed to win a championship… he’s outta there.  Either way, draft night could bring even more surprises.

SOCCER

Finally, some HUGE news out of the soccer world.  The 14th ranked United States, a national team that has basically been a joke the past few years, is shocking the world in the Confederations Cup.  For those that don’t know, the Confederations Cup is an invite-only tournament viewed as a warm-up for the World Cup.  It’s so South Africa can test out their stadiums, and see how the city reacts to a influx of people.  Then, they work out the bugs over the next year.  Well, the U.S. has surprised everyone, but last night was gigantic.  They upset the #1 seed in the world… Spain.  Spain was favored to destory the U.S., but the U.S. beat them not by 1, but 2 goals.  Now, they will play in the Championship Game against, most likely, the juggernaut Brazil.  The game is scheduled for Saturday.  U.S. 2, Spain 1.

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