The two teams that made the biggest moves at the deadline (I don’t count the Lakers stealing Gasol, because there was no dice rolling there, they just took all the chips), the Phoenix Sun and Dallas Mavericks both find themselves staring at an 0-2 deficit in Round 1 of the Playoffs.  Was it worth it?  Is it too early to tell?  Let’s first look at the Suns.


They were in 1 st place (38-10) in the West at the time they made their move to acquire the 36 year old Shaquille O’Neal, who has played over 45,000 minutes between regular and post season games.  I predicted that they would not host a first round playoff series, as soon as they made the trade.  I don’t care if Shawn Marion wanted out, he was playing fine, and with the make up of this year’s Western Conference they could have won with that team.  Instead they just slowed their team down and actually got worse at defense. 


Shaq was dismal in Game 1 vs. the Spurs putting up just 11 points and 5 rebounds in 30 minutes of a double OT loss.  He came back stronger in Game 2 with a solid 19-14, but the bottom line is they find themselves going back to Arizona have to win 4 of the next 5 games.  The Suns simply can not stop Tony Parker (26 & 32) and Manu Ginobili (24 & 29).  You know who would look good in a Suns uniform right now?  Shawn Marion.  A guy who could guard Parker or Ginobili, but where could they find someone like that?  Well if you watched the Heat games the last month, your guess on where Marion is as good as mine.


This trade looks awful.  Sure Steve Kerr shook things up a little bit, shook them up enough to have the Suns bow out of the 1 st round for the first time since they added Steve Nash in 04-05.  I never understood the trade when it happened, and now it’s just proving me and many others right.  A team with Nash, Bell, Hill (did he get hurt?!? Really?), Marion, and Amare would have been a top 4 seed and potentially made the NBA Finals.  Now they will fail to even win a series.  Can’t say I didn’t see it coming. 


As for the Dallas Mavericks, they gave up a young point guard in Devin Harris, and apparently a chance to play with LeBron.  (He said he was interested in Dallas when they had Harris).  I liked this trade more than Phoenix’s, but it looks as though they will have the same results.  Dirk isn’t tough, and Kidd is not the same (like Shaq).  Chris Paul is just killing them and David West is mocking last year’s MVP. 


Don’t be surprised if the league goes back to the way it was with teams too scared to pull major moves at the deadline.  After watching the Suns and the Mavs clubs may think they’re better off with what they have.  It’s too bad.  Or maybe they’ll see what the Celtics and Lakers did, (find a bad small market team that wants to dump salary and will take youngsters and picks for franchise players) and we could still see some major names on the move. 


Side note:  How about Chris Paul (averaging 33.5 and 13.5) and Dwight Howard (averaging 27-21) in the playoffs so far?  Good lord.     


-Rich Keefe


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