There has been a lot of discussion about the Thunder filling out the roster with a legitimate big man. Most of the talk has focused on Toronto’s soon-to-be free agent, Chris Bosh. But, considering there are six teams with more than max money that will be targeting him (most located in HUGE markets) and the Thunder will probably be about $4MM shy of being able to compete with the market, let’s assume he’s out of the question.
The other guy often mentioned as a possible target is New York’s “center” David Lee. His offensive stats are inflated by the system Knicks’ coach Mike D’Antoni implements and some people call him Avid Lee because he plays no defense. Of course, even if those things weren’t true, had Thunder GM Sam Presti been interested in signing Lee, the time to do it would have been last Summer. At that time, with the Knicks clinging to a strategy that precluded them from signing anyone to a contract greater than one season, Presti could have poached Lee at a bargain. Given that he passed then, I assume he isn’t going to offer him the exorbitant contract Lee will command this Summer. Remember, with half a dozen teams looking to sign marquee players and a likelihood that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade re-sign with their current teams, that means second tier superstars will be offered first tier money by franchises who don’t want to be shutout after selling their fanbases on the idea that current mediocrity would pay off in the Summer of 2010. It would be completely against Presti’s nature to pass on a player when he could be had cheaply and then go after him in a bidding war.
So, who does that leave? Well, just the greatest active big man…The Big Shaqtus, Shaq Diesel, Superman (co-opted by Dwight Howard), The Big Aristotle, Shaq Daddy, Shaq Fu, and as his momma calls him (at least on the birth certificate), Shaquille O’Neal.