Shaq traded to Cavs

The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired center Shaquille O’Neal from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for forward/center Ben Wallace, guard/forward Sasha Pavlovic, Cleveland’s second round pick in the 2010 NBA Draft (top-40 protected) and cash considerations, General Manager Danny Ferry announced today.

“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,” Ferry said. “We truly appreciate all that Ben and Sasha gave to this team and community in their time here. They were good teammates and we wish them nothing but success.”

O’Neal, a 15-time NBA All-Star and four-time NBA Champion, played in 75 games (all starts) during the 2008-09 season, averaging 17.8 points on an NBA-best and career-high .609 shooting, 8.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.4 blocks in 30.1 minutes per game.  His 75 games played were the most in a season since the 1999-2000 season and his scoring average of 17.8 was his highest since the 2005-06 season. He was named an all-star during the season for the 15th time, the second-most in NBA history, and shared All-Star Game MVP honors with the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, following a 17-point, five-rebound, three-assist outing in the West’s 146-119 victory. Following the season, he was named to the All-NBA Third Team, marking the 14th time he has earned All-NBA honors.

The 17-year veteran finished the season as the fifth-leading scorer in NBA history with 27,619 career points and joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players in NBA history to total at least 27,000 points, 12,000 rebounds and 2,500 blocks in their careers. In leading the NBA in field goal percentage for the 10th time, he set an NBA record, breaking the mark he previously shared with Wilt Chamberlain. He owns the 2nd highest field goal percentage in NBA history with a career percentage of .582. He currently ranks 7th on the NBA’s all-time blocked shots list with 2,628 and 15th in rebounds with 12,566 total rebounds. O’Neal is also the NBA’s active leader in points (27,619), offensive rebounds (4,068), total rebounds (12,566), free throw attempts (10,895) and field goal percentage (.582).

The 7-foot-1, 325-pound center has won four championships in his career: three straight with the Los Angeles Lakers from 2000-2002 and one in 2006 with the Miami Heat, and has reached the NBA Finals on six occasions. He was named Finals MVP in all three of the Lakers championship victories. With 122 postseason wins, he is the fifth-most winningest player in NBA playoff history. He ranks first all-time in NBA postseason history in free throw attempts (2,268), second in field goal percentage (.564), third in points (5,121) and fourth in rebounds (2,447) and games played (203). He has postseason career averages of 25.2 points on .564 shooting, 12.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.2 blocks in 38.6 minutes per game.

In 1,117 regular season games, ‘The Diesel’ has career averages of 24.7 points on .582 shooting, 11.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.4 blocks in 35.7 minutes per game and his teams are a combined 751-366 (.672). He was the youngest player named to the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players in NBA history in 1997 and was voted NBA MVP following the 1999-2000 season, in which he led the NBA in scoring (29.7 points) and joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players in NBA history to average more than 29 points, 13 rebounds (13.6), three assists (3.8) and three blocks (3.0) in a season. O’Neal is also a three-time All-Star Game MVP (2004, co-MVP in 2000 and 2009) and three-time All-NBA Defense selection (second team in 1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2002-03). He also led the US Olympic Team to a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics.

Pavlovic played in 66 games (12 starts) during the 2008-09 season with the Cavs, averaging 4.6 points and 1.9 rebounds in 15.9 minutes per game. In 302 games with Cleveland, he averaged 6.1 points on .417 shooting, including shooting .374 from three-point range, and 1.9 rebounds in 18.0 minutes per game.

Wallace, acquired by the Cavaliers on Feb. 21, 2008 from Chicago, played in 78 games with Cleveland and posted averages of 3.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 24.2 minutes per game. A four-time Defensive Player of the Year and all-star selection, Wallace has career averages of 6.2 points on .472 shooting, 10.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 30.9 minutes per game.

Phoenix currently owns the 14th, 48th and 57th overall selections in tonight’s 2009 NBA Draft.

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