With Shaq and LeBron united, it's championship or bust for the Cavs.

With Shaq and LeBron united, it's championship or bust for the Cavs.

Next season, it’s championship or bust for the Cleveland Cavaliers. That’s no secret.

LeBron James hits the free agent market after the 2009-10 season and if there isn’t a championship ring on his finger, the Cavs can kiss him goodbye.

The Cavs took a huge step toward making a title a reality with the acquisition of Shaquille O’Neal yesterday.

Some say he’s washed up. There’s no denying the end is near for Shaq, but he was impressive last season. The Suns’ up and down style of play got Shaq in the best shape we’ve seen him in years. 

He missed the fewest games (7) since the 99-00 season and suffered no significant injuries. He averaged more points (17.8) and played more minutes (30 per game) than he had since 05-06. Even his free throw percentage (59.5) was the best we’ve seen from him since 02-03.

The trade made perfect sense for the Cavs. It was a wash in salary (Shaq = $20 mil … Ben Wallace + Aleksander Pavlovic = $18.95 mil) and all three players contracts’ expire after this season.

Old or not, Shaq is still a force in the paint on both ends of the court – which is next to impossible to find these days – while Wallace and Pavlovic are essentially useless.

It’s time for LeBron to get it done. He’ll enter his seventh season next year and will have all the pieces he needs to get his team to the Promised Land. With Mo Williams and Delonte West on the perimeter and Shaq, Zydrunus Ilgauskas, and Anderson Varejao in the post … the excuses are over for the chosen one.

Say what you want about Shaq, but when you pair him with a superstar, good things happen. The big man has four rings (3 w/ Kobe, 1 w/Wade). If he gets a fifth to provide his giant hand with a fist full of diamonds, The Big Aristotle will ride off into the sunset as one happy ogre.