If Mark Cuban and the Mavericks should be serious about trading for Shaquille O'Neal, the reality is that Shaq will cost Cuban $80 million over the next two seasons.
O'Neal has two years left on his contract AFTER this season at $20 mil per. If the Mavs were to take on that salary, there's no way Cuban can stay under the luxury tax, meaning he would pay dollar-for-dollar in tax on Shaq's money. That's $80 mil for a 35-year-old center who can't stay healthy, and when he does get on the court, he's been a shell of his once-dominating self.
Now, you might say Avery Johnson no longer has interest in DeSagana Diop, who is in the final year of his contract and easy to move. And you might say Erick Dampier has his moments, but overall doesn't add a great deal. Does a Shaq-Dampier combo offer more than the Mavs currently get out of the position?
Possibly. But, is it really the missing ingredient to a title? And what about the next two seasons? Is the cost justifiable?
-- Jeff Caplan