Wednesday, February 6, 2008

What are the Suns Thinking?

This has nothing to do with Philly sports, but this trade is too big for me not to comment on. In case you haven't turned on the radio or ESPN in the last 24 hours, rumors are flying about a huge trade that will send Shaquille O'Neal from the Heat to the Suns for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. Apparently this deal is going to happen, pending a physical by Shaq, which there is no guarantee the beat up center will actually pass. The trade makes a lot of sense for the last-place Miami Heat, because they can get rid of Shaq's huge contract and they acquire Marion's expiring contract. The Heat will end up with a ton of money to spend in the offseason, and a high draft pick, as they will re-tool around Dwyane Wade.
But, why are the Phoenix Suns doing this deal? The Suns are currently in first place, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Lakers, and have been playing well recently. The Suns are known for their run-and-gun offense, and they average nearly 110 points a game. The team's offense runs through the quickness and floor vision of Steve Nash. So why are they adding the slowest player in the NBA to their roster? How are they going to be a fast-break team if they have to play 5 on 4 on the offensive end half the time because Shaq is still lumbering down the floor? The only way this works is if they change their whole offensive game plan whenever Shaq is on the court. But is Shaq good enough to run an offense through anymore? Shaq has been terrible this year, and is quickly losing all of his already limited skills. Yes, the guy was one of the best centers in NBA history, but he is long past his prime. Maybe the Suns want to be able to play better playoff basketball, because their system has yet to win them a championship, but I really don't think Shaq is the answer.
Shawn Marion has been an annoyance for the last few years, and I am sure they are glad to get rid of him, but the Phoenix Suns are making a mistake with this deal. An over-the-hill Shaquille O'Neal will only take them out of the style of play that has made them successful the last few years. This trade might be a reactionary one after the Lakers made the deal for Pau Gasol. making the L.A. a formidable team in the West. It looks like one of those deals that teams make just to make a splash, because the Suns are definitely acquiring a large, square peg to fit into their round hole.

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