Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Shaquille O'Neal being traded to the Suns?

The Miami Herald and local sports radio is reporting this rumor:
Heat in serious talks to trade Shaq

The Heat has told center Shaquille O'Neal's representation that it is talking about trading him and he should be prepared for the possibility of a deal, according to two officials close to the situation. Phoenix has discussed sending forward Shawn Marion and point guard Marcus Banks to the Heat in return for O'Neal.

Asked for confirmation, one of O'Neal's representatives said O'Neal has been made aware that discussions with Phoenix are serious and ongoing, but that a deal was not definite.
Dallas also has been mentioned as a potential destination, though the Heat had not immediately informed O'Neal of that possibility.

O'Neal, 35, was shocked by the turn of events, an associate said. O'Neal helped lead the Heat to the 2005-06 championship, but Miami has struggled since, losing in the first round of the playoffs last season and opening this season with a league-worst 9-37 record.
After this season, Marion can opt out of the last year of his contract worth $17.1 million. If Marion opts out, trading O'Neal would give the Heat substantial salary cap space this offseason, when potential free agents include Gilbert Arenas, Baron Davis, Elton Brand, Antawn Jamison, Ron Artest and Corey Maggette.

Marion, 29, is a four-time All-Star and considered one of the NBA's most athletic small forwards. Marion, 6-7, is averaging 15.8 points and 9.9 rebounds.

Banks, 26, is averaging 5.2 points and 1.0 assists. After this season, he has three years left on his contract worth a total of $13.4 million.

O'Neal, who has been out with a hip injury, has two years left on his contract after this season. He will be paid $20 million each of the next two seasons.

On Tuesday, coach Pat Riley said O'Neal was scheduled to have a magnetic resonance imaging exam on his ailing left hip, which has kept him out the past six games.

''We just want to back it up and see, after two weeks, what it shows,'' Riley said.
Riley gave no indication as to when O'Neal would return to the lineup. Riley said O'Neal must strengthen his legs before returning to action, and that the center will be one of six players to miss Wednesday's game at Detroit.

Heat officials were on their way to Detroit and could not be reached for comment."
All I can say is if it happens: Wow. I don't get why the Suns would do it. Anyone who has watched Shaq this year knows his gas tank is near "E". Perhaps they think he would be invigorated by going to them. Perhaps he thinks playing alongside all world point guard Steve Nash, and great players like Amare Stoudamire, Leandro Barbosa and the like in Mike D'Antoini's system would make the game easy for him. Maybe they think they tried for years with Marion and it didn't work, so why would it this year. Maybe they think with the Lakers adding Pau Gasol, along with Tim Duncan on the Spurs, they need their own force in the pivot (although what is Stoudamire, chopped liver?).

For the Heat it makes tremendous sense: Marcus Banks automatically can be their starting PG if they trade Williams, or at worst a backup. Marion is an all star caliber player, and his contract expires a year sooner than Shaq's - they can keep him, they can trade him in the offseason, or they can let him walk in 2009 and get the cap room. I think if it happens, you'll see a series of other moves reminiscent of the 1996 trade deadline when Riley invented the maneuver of trading for cap space:

In one of the biggest trading days in NBA history, Miami acquired guard Tim Hardaway and forward/center Chris Gatling from Golden State for forward/center Kevin Willis and guard Bimbo Coles. Acquired forward/guard Walt Williams and forward Tyrone Corbin from Sacramento for guard/forward Billy Owens and forward/guard Kevin Gamble. Acquired guard Tony Smith from Phoenix for guard Terrence Rencher. Signed guard Jeff Malone to a second 10-day contract.

J-Will could go, Ricky could go, Udonis (sadly) could go. Everyone not named Wade could be on the block.

The next few days will be verrrrry interesting

1 comment:

Tupac Amaru IV said...

I hope this is true. I've never been a fan of Shaq, and I can't wait until he doesn't wear a Heat jersey no more.