So ESPN.com's Bill Simmons and Chad Ford are co-hosting a lovely, little pre-draft chat Wednesday when the funny one (Simmons) drops this gem at the end:
"I have a tiny nugget for you - I have an impeccable source that swears Shaq's No. 1 choice this summer, hands down, is the Dallas Mavericks.
"Unfortunately for Shaq, Mark Cuban never overpays washed-up or never-was centers... oh, wait, he does that every summer. It's destiny!"
Shaq to the Mavs?
Well, if Dallas is going for oldest point guard-center combo in league history, why not? Shaquille O'Neal will turn 39 on March 6. Jason Kidd will turn 38 on March 23. Nothing wrong with that. The Mavs call it experience.
But, hold the printing order on those blue Shaq jerseys.
Yes, Mark Cuban and the Big Aristotle are buddies. But, Cuban has had chances in recent seasons to get The Diesel and he never put the pedal to the medal. Why now? Despite what Ross Perot Jr., might contend, Cuban is not so desperate as to need a sideshow to sell tickets and that's about all Shaq Fu can punch up these days.
Above all else is the fact that Shaq Daddy -- after 18 legendary seasons -- is now the Big Granddaddy. Cuban and Mavs vice president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson know this. Here's what they also know:
*The Mavs' stated goal with Kidd at the helm is to run, run, run. How did that work out for Phoenix with the Big Shaqtus in the middle? The Suns improved after the Big Agave left. The Big Cactus can't run the floor and he clogs offensive flow.
*Since Superman (Shaq, not Dwyane Wade -- or Dwight Howard for that matter) beat the Mavs with Miami in the 2006 Finals, he's played with MVPs Steve Nash in Phoenix and LeBron James in Cleveland. The Real Deal could make it a trifecta by playing with MVP Dirk Nowitzki, but the desired effect in the The Big Baryshnikov's last two stops hasn't materialized and there's no reason to believe that would change in Dallas.
*Fact is, Wilt Chamberneezy is the Allen Iverson of big men. He changes everything, on and off the floor. He demands touches and his off-court personality remains as dominant as his game once was. He was, is and will be the focal point, for better or worse.
*Plus, would coach Rick Carlisle start Dr. Shaq over Erick(a) Dampier?
Sorry, Big Galactus, you are loved, but if the Mavs are serious about re-tooling the roster to rocket to a new stratosphere, you and them are orbiting in different universes.
Yet, if somehow Shaqovic does suit up for the Mavs next season, then the owner is far more desperate than anyone -- except Junior, I suppose -- could have imagined.
It's time for The Big IPO to realize his stock has crashed and it's time to hang 'em up. And in five years he can call himself The Big HOF.