Nothing Special, Really

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

This Better Work, Steve

You know I'm blogging about this. I have too much to do at work today but I have to talk about this.

Marion & Banks for Shaq. My first thought was probably yours as well: "WTF? Why are we giving up an all-star on the tail end of his prime for a slow former MVP on the tail end of his career?"

You might be surprised to hear that I'm not that bothered by this trade.

First, this trade is entirely dependent on Shaq's health, and that's something that bothers me. Of course, our medical staff is full of miracle workers (see: Amare, Nash, Hill) so if anyone can keep him healthy, we can. But I don't like the thought of trading one of our top players for someone who's been recently injury prone. It's not like we're a deep team to begin with.

Assuming that, this trade works for a couple of reasons:

1. Shaq can be the low post defender that we still need. I do like the idea of Amare being a help-side defender. He's shown he can be a shot blocker but he's not a physical defender, nor is Skinner. Shaq should be able to at least duplicate what Kurt did. After what Al Jefferson and Tim Duncan have done to us recently, it's obvious we need this. Marion's an important part of this team but we still have Hill & Diaw at small forward.

2. This won't hurt our ability to run like a lot of other people are saying. Our running game is not dependent on all 5 players running - it's about quick outlet passes and fast players on the wings. It hurts not having Marion out there, but conceivably, Amare can take his place since he's not defending the basket as much.

3. The potential for better chemistry. Marion's unhappiness won't be a distraction any longer. Shaq is a professional & is on good terms with Nash. I don't know how he'll adapt to being a 3rd-5th option but anything has to be better than being in Miami right now.

Here's what I don't like about this trade.

1. Marion's value cannot be duplicated. Losing Marion's versatility as a defender is going to kill us, especially against point guards that Nash can't defend (which is most of them). I imagine Grant Hill will be asked to take Marion's place in this role, but that will obviously be a downgrade.

2. I don't know if I see Shaq & Amare effectively coexisting on the offense. Granted, Amare is more of a face-the-basket player than he is a post-up player, but I wonder if Shaq will take up too much space on the block. I'm not as concerned about Shaq's speed down the court as I am his lateral speed.

3. We now have the problem that other Miami, LA & Orlando had - the Hack-A-Shaq strategy. In close games & in the playoffs, I think this could have a huge effect on how our offense operates.

4. Financially, we're adding on an additional year at $20 million for Shaq. How did we go from not being willing to pay an additional $8 for Kurt Thomas to the point that we gave away two 1st round draft picks to get rid of him to taking on additional salary for Shaq? I know it's not additional salary, but we have completely mortgaged our future for a championship. In two years, are we going to be in the same place as Miami now?

We had to do something, and I don't know what other trades were available that allowed us to trade Marion but benefit our team. I would've liked to get Gasol but it looks like Memphis wanted guaranteed cap space (if we could guarantee that Marion is going to opt out, Gasol might have been ours). I doubt any other team in the West would trade with us. In the East, there's not much out there we could get considering Marion's contract. The question is, what's better: standing pat with the current roster or taking a chance on Shaq? The past couple of years haven't worked out too well, and even with a healthy roster, this year looks even tougher.

But of course, this all has to with how healthy Shaq is. If he can't stay healthy, then it looks like the next couple of years will be nothing but early playoff exits...again.

2 Comments:

  • No matter how you cut it, it was a bad trade for Phoenix. That's just a silly knee jerk reaction trade where they felt like they had to do something so they did. They didn't give it enough though. It's bad financially and bad for the future. Shaq sucks now. It's just bad. I was shocked with the trade.

    By Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage, At February 6, 2008 at 12:55 PM  

  • I hate this trade.

    By Anonymous Mark, At February 7, 2008 at 1:07 PM  

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