Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Shaquille O’Neal is now an owner of the Sacramento Kings. Thoughts on how this will play out?
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Owners are overrated. No offense to the Forbes 400 set, but the best owners in sports are the ones who hire the right presidents, general managers and coaches and let them do their jobs. If Shaq were a big-man coach or a GM, he’d have a unique impact on the Kings (and presumably DeMarcus Cousins). But as an “owner,” he’s just another guy with a fat wallet. Maybe he’s buying himself a high-priced apprenticeship to learn front-officing for a future team and role. Or maybe it’s all a set-up for a reality TV show.
Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: Shaq is the icing for this new optimistic and opportunistic Kings ownership group and front office as they attempt to resuscitate the franchise. There’s few bigger names in the game than Shaq, no larger personality to shine attention on a woebegone basketball team. He might even punk DeMarcus Cousins a time or two, and that would be funny. It will be interesting, however, to see just how vocal a typically filter-less Shaq will be, win or lose, but especially if the transitioning Kings continue to play like the, um, “Queens,” of the past half-decade.
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: I predict he will demand more touches. Oh, wait. That was the old Shaq. This one will work fine as long as he doesn’t start calling out players, coaches or executives. In other words, it may not work out fine. Maybe it’s a new day as O’Neal moves into a new role. Maybe he beats the odds and stays low key. If that happens, he can do a couple years and turn it into a larger role somewhere else. The Kings will have benefitted from the marketing, as well, and everyone goes home happy.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: It’s interesting, but I don’t know how important it is. As the majority owner, Vivek Ranadive is the most important person in that organization, because success in the NBA starts at the top. And after him, it’s GM Pete D’Alessandro, because you need talent to win and right now, this team doesn’t have enough of it. If the new Kings are still the old Kings on the court, it won’t matter what Shaq is doing. Sacramento fans are great and a new arena will be a boost for the franchise, but current stars will fill those seats better than a retired one.
Sekou Smith, NBA.com: Things can only get better for the Kings, who have languished in basketball purgatory for the past few years. And no offense to Shaq, but the franchise has another big man who is far more important to their future. The Kings need Cousins to be their center of attention now and for years to come. If adding Shaq to the ownership group means Cousins has someone inside of the organization he respects, someone whose voice carries weight with him as a mentor, then this whole #Shaqramento thing could pay off down the road. The attention spike for the Kings with Shaq on board is evident and already in play (the Kings got positive vibes across the basketball universe with Tuesday’s announcement). But when the novelty wears off, that other big man is the one who will have to carry the Kings.
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: I think in a perfect world, Shaq becomes a public face and voice for the Kings ownership. Not that new majority owner Vivek Ranadive isn’t capable of doing this on his own, but Shaq is one of the most recognizable brands in the world, and at the very least his involvement should give Sacramento a dose of much-needed excitement. In some ways it would be interesting to see Shaq take a role almost like a Vice President takes in the debate season, and becoming the person who takes shots at opposing teams. Because if anyone can talk a big game, it’s the Diesel.
Davide Chinellato, NBA Italia: It’s still difficult to think about Shaq not as a basketball player. But the Kings are a interesting organization in development right now, and the Big Diesel could help them out in making the right calls. I’m not only talking about mentoring Cousins, the best talent in Capitol City, Calif., but bringing the winning mentality Shaq had throughout his whole career.
Philipp Dornhegge, NBA Deutschland: I’m really looking forward to this. The NBA was a great place when the Kings were relevant, and I’m optimistic that the franchise is moving in the right direction. New ownership, new coach, new front office — and now Shaq and a new arena in a couple of years: This will all help to bring the Kings back to where they were a decade ago. And Shaq might also help turn Cousins into the franchise player that he is supposed to be. Great news all around.
Stefanos Triantafyllos, NBA Greece: Putting Shaq in the mix (in any mix) is always fun. And interesting. The team former known as “Sacramento Queens” (Shaquille’s words, not mine) has a new boss. Even if he is part owner, Shaq is the real deal — the true superstar — and everybody should be excited to have him around the hardwood once again. And because of what might come out of him, to be honest, I don’t know if it will better (from a fan’s perspective) if the Kings win or lose from the start.