As the deal for Shaquille O'Neal to the Suns for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks seems more and more likely I have to say, what the hell? What are the Suns doing? They have done all they can to get rid of bad contracts like Kurt Thomas, and sell draft picks so they wouldn't have to pay 1st round guaranteed money. So why bring in a guy making 20 million a year and who will celebrate his 36th birthday in less than a month? Shaq fits in about as well with the Suns fast paced offense as Sophia Coppola did with the cast of Godfather Part III. Shaq has missed 14 games this year and is averaging fewer rebounds than Jason Kidd so far this year.

The deal doesn't make sense to me in any respect. Ok so Shawn Marion wanted out of Phoenix before the year began. But the Matrix hasn't been playing any worse putting up solid numbers once again, just shy of 16 points and 10 rebounds on a team where they don't run any plays for him. He's also only missed 1 game all season. They are going to miss this guy more than they know. Not sure what Steve Kerr was thinking. Who is going to rebound for this team that takes and allows a ton of shots? Amare is not a great rebounder, and thats putting it nicely, and Shaq is no longer a double-double guy himself. Marion has led the Suns in rebounding 7 of the last 8 years, and that's not the only thing he brings to the court. One of the most overlooked aspect of Marion's game is his defensive abilities. He is a cameleon of sorts. Watch Marion play against the Spurs and on three separate trips he could be matched up with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. How many guys in the league can do that? And who on the Suns now can guard any of those guys beside Raja Bell?

One arguement for trading away Shawn Marion would be that the Suns haven't won anything with him, in fact they have not even made it to the NBA Finals, so why not mix it up? That's fine, but not for Shaq. It makes zero sense to me to bring Shaq, who has over 1000 regular season games under his belt for the fastest moving team in the game. "7 Seconds or Less" has been the mantra for the Suns with coach D'Antoni, does Shaq make it to half court by 5? If the Suns wanted a true center someone like Tyson Chandler or Marcus Camby would have made a lot more sense because of their athletic ability, but both the Hornets and Nuggets are in the hunt and won't part with either of them.

Miami gets out of Shaq's contract, assuming this deal goes through, and that's a huge plus for them. Marion can opt out after next year, and if he really wants to be the man on a team, he won't be that with D-Wade in South Beach, he may be on 3 teams in less than a calender year. I know Marion wanted out of Phoenix but to go from a team with 34 wins (3rd best record) to a team with 9 (worst in NBA) is awful. It is a good move for the future of the Heat, but I still can't understand it for the Suns.

Phoenix's starting five right now would be Steve Nash, Raja Bell, Grant Hill, Amare Stoudemire, and Shaq, with Barbosa and Diaw coming off the bench. Is that better? Does that give them a better chance to win the NBA Championship? Marion may not have been the perfect fit off the court or in the locker room for this team, but he was on. I think his game suffers, as would anyones away from Nash, but so does the Suns overall game. Two of the four players they will be heavily leaning on are both currently 35 years old (Hill and Shaq) and very injury prone. Very surprising move to me as you can tell. The Suns currently have the best record in the West, but I would be shocked if they were a top 3 seed going into the playoffs. I hope they are, as I love the way they play... but I don't think they will be able to continue that up- and- down pace if this move goes through. Good luck.

Rich Keefe

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