Another unbelievable blockbuster went down in the NBA last night. However, it seems that this one makes little sense for either team, except maybe that their star players were simply looking for a change of scenery. It has been reported that the Miami Heat have traded Shaquille O’Neal to the Phoenix Suns for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks.
Unlike the Pau Gasol trade, it seems to me that the fantasy impact of all the players involved will be diminished. On the Phoenix side, it is tough to imagine how the injury-prone, old center will be able to fit in with the offense that Mike D’Antoni likes to run with Steve Nash. I can understand that Shaq is still a defensive presence inside and thtis allows Amare Stoudamire to move to his more natural four position, but I envision Shaq clogging up the lane while Steve Nash is trying to drive, demanding the ball go through him in the half-court offense, and then going to the bench every five minutes due to the pace of the game. This seemingly will hurt Shaq’s offensive numbers, but also damage those of Steve Nash and Amare Stoudamire, who will suffer from the slower pace. Another interesting thing is that even though Shawn Marion has always been a fantasy stud, he did not require the ball. He was just great in position and playing with Nash and Stoudamire. If you think that Shaq does not require the ball, you’re crazy, and this will also slow down the Suns offense.
On the Miami Heat side, the season has been over, so why not shed the big contract of the big man and gain payroll flexibility? Dwayne Wade and Shawn Marion should be able to co-exist, but this writer believes that Marion was a byproduct of that Phoenix system and the beneficiary of the amazing point guard play of Steve Nash. I believe that Wade may continue to struggle without a dominating big man in the middle and Marion’s stats will take a big hit without solid point guard play and a “spread” offense. Comparing Pat Riley’s system and Mike D’Antoni’s are like looking at night and day.
So it seems like for the time being that both teams were more willing to just trade their unhappy superstars for each other. For the Suns especially, I hope they see something that we do not, since I cannot see how this move benefits them and moves them up to par with the Spurs and Lakers in the West. Trades are usually done so that both teams benefit. In this case, it seems like this is one of those trades that does the opposite for both teams, especially in the fantasy category.
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