Please, please let this trade happen. I don't want to jinx it, but I really want the Suns to trade Shawn Marion for Shaq, as ESPN is reporting. If Pat Riley would like to atone for some of his awful mistakes in the last two years (forcing out Stan Van Gundy in a despicable manner, jeopardizing Wade's future by bringing him back from injury too soon, and acquiring Ricky Davis just to name a few) he can start with making this trade happen.
Don't get me wrong, I love Shaq. I love his way with words – he did dub Tim Duncan “The Big Fundamental” after all – I loved watching him dominate the NBA for over a decade, I love that he knew Kobe Bryant was a little punk and let everyone else know too.
But if Pat Riley and the Heat can unload his overweight and broken-down body along with the two years and $40 million left on his contract, it would be the best thing to happen to the Heat since it won the championship two years ago.
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Shawn “The Matrix” Marion is 29 years-old and averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds while playing 36 minutes a game. Shaq turns 36 in a month, is only playing 28 minutes a game, and averaging 14 points and 8 boards a game, the lowest averages in his 15-year career. More importantly Marion's efficiency rating, which takes into account major stats but also turnovers and shooting percentages, is eight points higher than Shaq's (+23.74 to +15.84). Shaq has also been slowed by persistent hip problems this season.
This trade sounds very un-Suns like, considering they traded away their first round draft picks the last two years to save money. And there is also the question of how the lumbering Shaq Diesel will fit into Phoenix's fast-paced, running offense. Maybe the Suns, who have the best record in the West at 34-14, are shaking in their orange kicks now that the Lakers picked up Pau Gasol without giving up any important parts. Marion asked for a trade in the off season, and the Suns shopped Amare Stoudemire for Kevin Garnett as well. Bringing in Shaq would most likely improve team chemistry by jettisoning the melancholy Marion and allowing the undersized Stoudemire to move from center to a more natural power forward spot.
The motives for Miami seem much more obvious. The Heat has the NBA's worst record at 9 - 37 and have no chance of making it back to the playoffs before Shaq retires. Marion can defend all five positions, fills the stat sheet, and could be a great athletic counterpart to Dwayne Wade. Marion can opt out of his contract at season's end if he decides to forfeit next season's $17.2 million salary, potentially giving the Heat substantial salary-cap space this summer.
Make this trade Riley, even if you have to throw in a tub of your hair gel, make this trade. It will go a long way toward stabilizing your sinking reputation. -- Tovin Lapan