Ingram: Shaq To LA? Not Likely . . .
Late last week HOOPSWORLD's Eric Pincus got wind of a trade scenario that the Los Angeles Lakers were rumored to be working on with the Miami Heat - a trade scenario that would bring Shaquille O'Neal back to the land of purple and gold. In his piece, Eric compared it to one infamous season finale to the television show Dallas, in which Bobby Ewing magically came back from the dead and the entire previous season was written off as a dream. Patrick Duffy, the actor who portrayed Bobby Ewing, just couldn't stay away, and frankly the show had suffered greatly for his absence. An agreement was reached, a plot was written, and fans were so overjoyed to have the character back that they forgave the entire dream sequence scenario and happily welcomed their favorite Ewing back into the fold.
That was an apt comparison, but not for the same reason Eric points to. The Los Angeles Lakers can't just wipe away the seasons since Shaq left, any more than they could wipe away the bad blood that has developed between Kobe Bryant and his former teammate. The two may be on speaking terms twice a year when the Los Angeles Lakers and Heat meet, but thinking they could somehow come back together and play cohesively is a stretch. But the real fantasy - the real shower scene - is the one that has the Heat willing to entertain the idea of trading away the most successful marketing icon they've ever had for what amounts to some junk no team would easily take in trade.
The rumored deal has the Los Angeles Lakers sending Lamar Odom back to Miami along with Kwame Brown and Jordan Farmar. Talk about a fantasy! Odom is a solid role player, but not an All-Star by any stretch of the imagination. Kwame Brown is the piece that no one wants. There are much cheaper ways to get eight points and six rebounds per game. Jordan Farmar has talent and will be a solid contributor, but the Heat have absolutely no need for a fourth point guard unless they can deal White Chocolate - a prospect that gets slimmer with each passing day.
Think about it. If the Heat were willing to part with their star center for so little return they could certainly do better. Why not Dallas? The Mavericks would happily give up Erick Dampier, who is as good a scorer, a better rebounder, and shoots 63% from the foul line - positively Bird-like compared to Kwame Brown's 44%. The Mavs would probably throw in some pieces the Heat might actually be able to use, like guard Mo Ager and maybe the Posey-like Greg Buckner. This is just one example, but if Shaq's market value has sunk so low that the Los Angeles Lakers could get the Los Angeles Lakers on the phone with an offer of Odom, Jordan Farmar, and Kwame Brown, imagine how many other teams would step forward with better deals!
The only way the Heat enter this discussion at all is if the deal involves Kobe Bryant going to Miami. It's the only way the team could face their fans for the upcoming season. If they traded Shaq for some role players they might as well start refunding season tickets, prepare for Dwyane Wade's trade demand, and call the Miami Fire Department to put out the American Airlines Arena-sized bonfire of Heat jerseys that would spontaneously ignite. They would then have to relocate the team to Oklahoma City in the aftermath of Hurricane Heat Fans.
That's before we even bring Shaq's wishes into the discussion. He has no desire to leave Florida, which he has called home since his NBA career started with the Orlando Magic. He has put down roots, and plans to run for political office when his playing days are through. He has done more for the City of Miami and the State of Florida than many of their career politicians have, and if he continues through politics to have the kind of influence he has had as a player the state will be lucky to have him. Shaq doesn't want to go anywhere.
In this version of the pop culture scene, Pamela Ewing wakes up, finds Bobby in the shower, and then wakes up again to find that his return was nothing but a dream. Bobby's not coming back . . .and neither is Shaq.