A Shaq-Nowitzki trade makes sense

Updated: June 23, 2004, 9:39 AM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
Has there ever been a weekend where three of the league's top five stars all began packing their bags at the same time? Shaquille O'Neal wants a trade. So does Tracy McGrady. Kobe Bryant is opting out. If that isn't enough to make you renew your Insider subscription, we're not sure what is.

Insider was on the phone with numerous league sources over the weekend. Here's the scuttle on where Shaq, T-Mac and Kobe might land in the next month.

Shaq to Big D?

Shaquille O'Neal's demand to be traded has less to do with Kobe than it does with his desire to tack an extra two years, $60 million onto his current contract, which has two years left. Sources told Insider that owner Jerry Buss doesn't even want to discuss such a large extension. That decision, not the end of the Phil Jackson tenure, prompted Shaq to demand a trade. Shaq knows his window to cash in one last time is closing. He's 32 now and will be 34 when his contract is up. Does anyone believe Shaq can get that type of extension two years from now? It's now or never, which is why Shaq wants to be traded to a team willing to cut the check.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer