The On Deck Circle

The unofficial home of Real Talk

Jack on Shaq - Why I Like the Shaq Trade

Posted by Blake Murphy on February 12, 2008

This article has been submitted by Jack Forsayeth.

Love it or hate it, you’ve got to admit that Steve Kerr has balls. He trades the third best player, in Shawn Marion, on his Western Conference leading Phoenix Suns for a 350 pound (though he claims 320) aging Shaq. Sounds stupid eh? Wrong.

Marion, yes, the 29 year old four-time all-star cum most versatile player in the league Marion, was ruining the Phoenix dressing room and would have left after this year regardless. Phoenix has proven year after year that Mike D’Antoni basketball may win conferences but it doesn’t win championships. Something had to be done and Kerr did it. The only way that Phoenix can compete with the top teams in the West was to go out and get a big man who could rebound and defend other big men better than Amare. They could not have stopped Gasol and Bynum, Boozer and Okur, West and Chandler, and Duncan (and Bonner) without a little Kerr magic coming from the Genie Kazaam himself.

Shaq may not be able to run like Marion or defend the perimeter like Marion, but his four rings prove that he is the best leader in the game and still its most dominant force. Phoenix will still be able to beat most teams in their run and gun style without Marion and in those games all Shaq has to do is rebound the ball and pass it to Nash. That covers 90% of the league and will get them through the first round just like it did before, only Diaw/Barbosa/Amare/Hill will be finishing rather than Marion and those four. Big deal, they can all run and dunk. Also in the trade was the expensive Marcus Banks which will open up a spot for Steve Kerr to come out of retirement and drain those wide-open threes that Shaq creates. That was the real reason for the trade. Just imagine the possible 8 man rotation at D’Antoni’s disposal:

PG: Nash and Barbosa
SG: Bell and Kerr
SF: Hill
PF: Amare and Diaw

Now I am clearly joking about the Kerr thing but D’Antoni only uses 7 people anyway. Shaq will be more valuable than Marion in the games that count. The conference finals, the championship, Game 7, the games where Phoenix may be forced, more than they would like to, to slow down the pace and play Spurs or Pistons basketball. This is how they lost before and this is how they would have lost this year with the same team. In these cases, Shaq can set up shop down low and teams will have to choose between leaving Shaq and Amare one-on-one (basically giving up a dunk), or double teaming and leaving Nash/Bell/Diaw/Hill/Barbosa open to drain a tray or J right in their eye. If that doesn’t say championship I don’t know what does (well, I guess Duncan does, too).

The West is certainly shaping up to be a great race with the Lakers and Suns making deals before the deadline that could finally knock off the Spurs. I don’t think Boston can compete with any of those three teams and the winner will be from the West again. Dallas, Utah, Denver, and New Orleans are really wishing they were in the East right about now because they would likely be 2 through 5 rather than fighting for a playoff spot.

Shaq may only have a couple years left in the Diesel Tank but the same goes for Nash (and Bell, and Hill) and we all know that Phoenix can not win without the perennial MVP candidate. Shaq gives Phoenix the best chance to win before Nash retires and that is all that should matter to Suns fans. The time is now, Phoenix, the time is now and Kerr knew it. All the critics will be taking back their words when Shaq retires with a Jordan-esque 6 six rings and the rest of the Suns with two more than they would have had with Marion.

This article has been submitted by Jack Forsayeth.

5 Responses to “Jack on Shaq - Why I Like the Shaq Trade”

  1. kevin Says:

    “I don’t think Boston can compete with any of those three teams…” disagree. The Lakers and Suns moves on paper (and let’s be honest, in reality) make them much better. BUT the Celts are sick; although they are beatable, they have a hungrier-than- ever Paul Pearce, and the leadership to take them over the top. Potentially of course, so I won’t pencil in a parade in Boston come June, but they can compete now and in the post season with the West’s big three.

  2. stu Says:

    The only real question is who guards Lebron in the Finals? He will average 40 if the Suns come out of the West.

  3. Sam Cassady Says:

    You make a good point with the retirment of Steve Nash, but with a young core of Barbosa, Amare, and Diaw, I dont think the Suns would have had to totally rebuild…

    I still think the Suns unecessarily mortgaged the future; Shaq is fine, but I hate his contract.

  4. Blake Murphy Says:

    I’m not sure that ‘mortgaging the future’ is the correct term, since Marion was leaving and wouldn’t have been a part of the rebuilding process anyways, I don’t think. It cost them flexibility,but only pushes the post-Nash rebuilding back one year (and that’s only if there are no buyers for a 20M expiring contract in 09).

    Amare/Barbosa/Diaw plus the Hawks’ 1st in this year’s draft can be built around still, with 35M+ opening up in cap space the same summer Wade and LeBron (and Melo and Bosh) all hit the market. I still don’t like the deal, but I don’t think it will be as financially restrictive as first thought.

  5. Blake Murphy Says:

    In unrelated news, Shawn Marion just dropped 23 and 18.

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