White, Nailon should draw interests

Updated: July 2, 2004, 9:57 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
Rodney White, Nuggets: With minutes, he can score. He did so in Denver last season, but his defense kept him from getting more playing time. He's got to improve on that if he's going to get more minutes. He played his one season of college ball at UNC-Charlotte. Just wondering.

Lee Nailon, Cavaliers: You keep waiting for Nailon to break out, because he is productive with the ball. But if he couldn't play for Paul Silas or Don Chaney, you wonder who he could play for.

Travis Best, Mavericks: He didn't get much of an opportunity in Dallas last season, but someone who has the kind of playoff experience and defensive ability like Best has got to get a real look somewhere; there aren't that many quality backup guards in the league.

Darius Miles, Blazers: The likelihood is that the Blazers will re-sign Miles, a restricted free agent. But if money becomes an issue, is it possible that D would wind up wherever his buddy Quentin Richardson winds up? That could be Phoenix. That could be Denver.

Stromile Swift, Grizzlies: Like Miles, Swift is restricted, and you'd expect the Grizzlies to re-sign him or at least use him in a sign-and-trade if they can't get a physical big man any other way. But if the Celtics don't get anybody else to come in free agency, Stro wouldn't be a bad target.

Tom Gugliotta, Jazz: Gugliotta's best days are no doubt behind him, but the veteran four is smart and tough and wouldn't be a bad pickup for minimum money.

Ron Mercer, Spurs: Things didn't work out in San Antonio, where Mercer had a clear opportunity to get major minutes. I still think he's got some ball in him.

Antonio McDyess, Suns: He is a wild card. After all he's been through physically, does he have much left in his legs? And if he doesn't, can he still give you something? It's probably worth a million bucks to find out.

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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