Who’s running now? Certainly not the Suns. Not any more. Not like before. Not with half-healthy, soon-to-be-35-year-old Shaquille O’Neal in the middle. These Suns, indeed, have set.
On the other hand, you’ve got to love this move. It’s all balls. It seems the Suns, on the night former all-star Pau Gasol made his debut with the Lakers, have gone for broke – trading in their second-best player, Shawn (The Matrix) Marion (along with 6-2 point guard Marcus Banks) to the Heat for The Diesel and his $20 million salary. They’ve gone all in. Either win this year or become the Heat – old and irrelavent.
One NBA honcho called the move “Fool’s Gold” because it means the Suns have to reap the benefit (win the NBA title) this season, maybe next, or it was all for naught and the franchise is back a Square One.
The move no doubt gives the Suns the low-post presence they need to serious contend for the title that has eluded them during the Steve Hans/Mike D’Antonio Era.
If Shaq’s healthy.
They get one of the most imposing low-post guys in the history of the game.
If Shaq’s healthy.
O’Neal, nursing all sorts of ailments, missed 42 games last season and has already missed 14 this year. As I type he’s supposed to be on his way to Phoenix for a physical. It’ll be interesting to see just what the Suns doctors consider “pass” when they examine this aging frame.
The trade also sets up a delicious potential playoff matchup between Suns/Shaq and Lakers/Kobe. Yum.
If O’Neal’s body doesn’t hold up, the Suns are done. Steve Nash is done. Mike D’Antonio is done. One thought is that this was a trade engineered by Steve Kerr, who assumed D’Antoni’s GM duties less than a year ag, not by the coach. If that’s the case, the move also indicates a subtle shifting of power in the desert – another move that bears watching.