CLEVELAND (AP) -- LeBron and Shaq: Two of the NBA's biggest stars are now teammates.
The Cleveland Cavaliers completed a blockbuster trade Thursday, bringing superstar center Shaquille O'Neal from the Phoenix Suns to play with current MVP LeBron James, two people with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the trade had not been officially announced.
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 Cavs would settle for their first.
The Cavs are sending center Ben Wallace and swingman Sasha Pavlovic to the Suns, along with a second-round pick in the 2010 draft and $500,000 in cash, one of the people close to the deal 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 only missing a title ring from his personal resume.
The trade is a gamble for the Cavs. They are hoping that the 37-year-old O'Neal, who is past his prime and has one year left on a $21 million 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.
For sheer star power, the O'Neal-James tandem rivals any on the sports landscape today. And if it works, and lasts, the pairing may one day belong in the same company as some of the all-time combinations like Maris-Mantle, Koufax-Drysdale or Montana-Rice. But it could also be a one-year gambit.
Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry and Suns GM Steve Kerry have been discussing the deal for months and finally reached a preliminary agreement early Thursday morning. The teams had to get league approval before the swap could be announced.
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