While the Shaquille O'Neal-to-Cleveland Cavaliers trade talk created a buzz over the weekend, there is an obstacle standing in the way of a future Shaq-LeBron pairing: The Phoenix Suns aren't going to give O'Neal away merely to save money.
The Suns, who could save $10 million by sending O'Neal to Cleveland for Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic, also want to gain basketball value in any trade involving O'Neal, league sources told ESPN.com.
With Wallace considering retirement and Pavlovic averaging fewer than six points over his six-year NBA career, Cleveland would likely have to strengthen its offer to get O'Neal.
The Suns reportedly had interest in Delonte West when the clubs discussed possible deals at the February trade deadline, but the Cavaliers value West and would be hard-pressed to part with him. As it stands, the teams have had only preliminary discussions and will continue to speak in the weeks ahead.
Phoenix also has fielded calls from other teams that have inquired about O'Neal, including Dallas, New Orleans, Portland and New York.
While getting talent in return is a priority, the Suns' desire for financial relief is real, which means they'll likely trade O'Neal and his $20 million contract this offseason.
O'Neal is open to being traded and Cleveland is his preferred destination, a league source told ESPN.com. LeBron James also is excited about the
Magic: The agent for Hedo Turkoglu told the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel that the small forward will opt out of his contract and become a free agent in two weeks. "It would make sense for him to opt out," Lon Babby, Turkoglu's agent said. "I can't imagine a scenario in which he would not." Turkoglu is scheduled to make $7.3 million next season in the final year of a six-year, $36 million deal. Babby expects the market for Turkoglu to be "robust." Babby is expected to speak with Magic general manager Otis Smith in the coming days. "Hedo distinguished himself in this playoff run. He's in a different spot than he was before the playoffs began," Babby said. "He'll weigh his options." ... Backup center Marcin Gortat, who made just $770,000 this season, can become a restricted free agent. It's believed several teams will make a run at him, with the Magic likely being unable to match an offer.
76ers: Guard Royal Ivey declined his player option for the 2009-10 season and became an unrestricted free agent.