AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — NBA superstars LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal became teammates when the Cleveland Cavaliers completed a blockbuster trade for O'Neal from the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.
The Cavaliers hope they are creating a basketball duo with the drawing power of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — or even Shaq and Kobe Bryant.
Each of those pairs won multiple NBA titles. The Cavaliers would settle for their first.
The Cavaliers are sending center Ben Wallace and Serbian swingman Sasha Pavlovic to the Suns, along with a second-round pick in the 2010 draft and cash.
"It is a really unique and rare opportunity to bring in a player of Shaq's caliber. We are excited to see how his presence, experience and play positively impacts our team," Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry said.
O'Neal has won four championships during his 17-year career — three as member of the Los Angeles Lakers with Bryant and one in Miami with Dwyane Wade — and will now try to get yet another with James, the league's reigning MVP, who is missing only an NBA title from his personal resume.
The trade is a gamble for the Cavaliers. They are hoping that the 37-year-old O'Neal, who is past his prime and has one year and $21 million left on his contract, can be the missing piece that helps James deliver his first championship to a city that has waited since 1964 for one of its major sports teams to win it all.