Daniels emerges as hot commodity

Updated: July 2, 2004, 9:32 AM ET
By David Aldridge | Special to ESPN.com

The K factor
Shaquille O'Neal
O'Neal
Mike Krzyzewski has a military (school) background and a sparkling resume, which means he should have plenty to impress Shaquille O'Neal. Except that O'Neal still doesn't want to play for him.

It's not because Shaq has anything against Coach K. Shaq simply sees his possible hiring as yet another slight, another concession the Lakers have made to Kobe Bryant without Shaq's consultation.

With the belief spreading that Krzyzewski is Bryant's hand-picked choice to replace Phil Jackson, Shaq may be even more determined to force a trade, insulted by the appearance of another player on his team being allowed to make all the decisions.

Problem is, a Shaq trade is even tougher now than it was when the week began, after the Mavericks lost free-agent point guard Steve Nash to Phoenix without compensation. Dallas and Sacramento are widely considered the only feasible destinations for O'Neal, but the Mavs, without Nash, suddenly don't have a spare star to build a trade package around.

The Lakers are insisting on receiving Dirk Nowitzki in any deal that sends Shaq to Dallas. The Mavericks insist they won't trade Nowitzki and were hoping to involve Nash in a sign-and-trade deal with Golden State that would route Warriors free-agent center Erick Dampier to L.A. as Shaq's replacement. That seems impossible now without Nash, and even if the Mavericks were suddenly willing to part with Nowitzki, O'Neal would probably hesistate to commit to a Dallas team without Nowitzki or Nash.

If obstacles keeping cropping up at their current rate, convincing the Lakers to move Shaq could prove as challenging as the Lakers' quest to lure Coach K away from his Duke empire.

-- Marc Stein
*Marquis Daniels, Mavericks: They tried to keep him a secret most of the season, but Daniels' game came of age late in the regular season and in the playoffs against Sacramento. He doesn't seem like he's 6-foot-6, but he's incredibly active on the glass and scores in traffic. You doubt that anyone will outbid Cubes for him, but if I were, say, the expansion Bobcats, I'd offer Daniels a lot of money … and a lot of shots.

Bruce Bowen, Spurs: Walked away from $4 million next season to test the market, which should still be plentiful. Bowen didn't have a great series against the Lakers, but there still isn't anyone who's flat-out better on the ball. Gets a bum rap for dirty play; there's about 25 teams that could use a guy who locks people up like BB. Ironically, the Lakers are one of those teams.

Stephen Jackson, Hawks: Jackson made a mistake by not re-upping with the Spurs last season; on a dreadful Hawks team, he padded his stats (18 points per game, 1.78 steals) but didn't improve his reputation. I'm begging you, Jack -- take your jumper, length and toughness somewhere where it'll do some good. How about Cleveland, where you could play next to LeBron for a half-dozen years?

*Zeljko Rebraca, Hawks: One of the throw-ins in the Rasheed deal, Zelly is nobody's ballast. This kid throws his body around inside and will go to the glass. Concerns about his heart (I'm not talking about his courage; I mean the actual ticker) seem to have been alleviated. If he's got a clean bill of health, the Wolves should take a good, long look.

*Jamal Crawford, Bulls: A likely candidate to be shipped elsewhere. He can be selfish at times, and appear disinterested, but every time I looked at a Bulls game last season -- admittedly, not very often -- Crawford seemed to be dropping 30 on somebody. For an offensively-challenged team like the Raptors, Crawford would make a lot of sense on a sign-and-trade.

Adonal Foyle, Warriors: He's made himself into a player, a guy who'll get on the glass and stay there. Not bad around the basket now, either. A team desperate for size and inside presence like Milwaukee could do a lot worse than throwing some significant bucks Foyle's way.

Derek Fisher, Lakers: You know all you need to about D Fish. Heart of a champion. Tough on the ball. Maker of clutch, clutch shots. At 29, he wants to start, and he deserves to. A Fisher-McGrady backcourt in Houston makes a whole lot of sense; Fisher is the kind of point guard that Jeff Van Gundy falls in love with.

*Hedo Turkoglu, Spurs: A puzzling season for Hedo. He hit 3-pointers like they were going out of style during the regular season (eighth in the league in 3-point percentage), and improved his defense and decision-making throughout the year. And then against the Lakers, he forgot everything. Would the Kings take him back? They should. And he should want to go.

*Etan Thomas, Wizards: He only started sporadically, but still managed to pull down 6.7 boards a night and finish in the top 20 in blocked shots -- shots he blocks with either hand, by the way. Now that the Wizards are locked into Antawn Jamison's big deal as well as Gilbert Arenas', a team like the Celtics that needs some heft in the hole should be all over Thomas.

Marcus Camby, Nuggets: Like Dampier, had suspiciously good numbers (fifth in blocked shots, ninth in rebounds, third in field-goal percentage) in a contract year. But you can't deny that Camby was huge during Denver's run to the playoffs and deserves a payday. If he doesn't re-up with the Nuggets, he'd be a reasonable gamble in Miami. Certainly Stan Van Gundy's brother would give him a ringing endorsement.

*Denotes restricted free agent; current team has the right to match any offer made to the player and retain his services.

David Aldridge, who covers the NBA for ESPN, is a regular contributor to ESPN.com. Also, click here for Aldridge's chat on July 1, the start of free agency.

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