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Shaq-town?

TUCSON, Ariz. – Scenarios centered around Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal’s next address are abundant.

O’Neal has been on the wish list of NBA team execs since he has expressed his dissatisfaction with his current situation in La-La Land.

The Dallas Mavericks, the New York Knicks and most recently the Miami Heat have each been linked via various media outlets as to good fits for the Big Aristotle and his size 23 shoe.



Where do the Sacramento Kings fit in this equation?

In a nutshell, nowhere.




Sacramento, it’s said, would be forced to gut its roster to both offer a sweet enough deal to entice the Lakers to let go of the league’s dominant big man and make enough room under the salary cap for the $30-or-so million paycheck he’s due to earn in two years.

And?

What’s the problem?

It’s true Shaq hasn’t had the most flattering remarks about the Kings and the city of Sacramento in the past – although he’s taken back what he’s said in recent weeks – and he hasn’t been the most durable player over the past couple seasons, but this is a no-brainer.

The addition of Tracy McGrady to the Houston Rockets, along with the probable return of both the entire San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves squads, not to mention the emergence of the Denver Nuggets, the NBA’s Western Conference is getting tougher by the minute.

Can the Kings afford to stand pat with a supremely talented team which hasn’t found a way to get over the hump?

The biggest names bandied around for trade bait have been Peja Stojakovic, Brad Miller and Doug Christie.

I submit to you they’re all expendible.

Stojakovic, for instance, while one of the league’s top 3-point threats and an extremely popular fella with the Sacramento fans, can’t create his own shot and all but dissappeared in this year’s playoffs.

Miller, a solid pickup by the Kings, has proven himself to be a more-than-capable post player with good shooting range, but can’t hold a candle to Shaq and his ability to completely take over a game.

OK, losing Christie and his defensive presence would be tough.

Again it goes back to what you’re going to get in return:

– Arguably the league’s most dominating and intimidating big man since Wilt Chamberlain.

– A marquee name and likeness which is sure to generate truckloads of positive publicity for the City of Sacramento.

The naysayers contend it’s not worth mortgaging the team’s future for a thirty-something center with bad feet and big contract.

With more than it’s share of old timers hogging up minutes, the Kings’ future is now.

ooo

Keith Jiron is a sports reporter for The Union. He can reached at 477-4244, or via email at keithj@theunion.com.


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