Wednesday , Feb , 06 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Miami Heat Look to Trade Shaq to Phoenix Suns – Does It Make Sense?

Miami Heat Look to Trade Shaq to Phoenix Suns - Does It Make Sense?You knew something was going to blow up within the next few days. With the Miami Heat having lost 19 of their last 20 games and frustration building in South Beach, everyone figured it was only a matter of time before Pat Riley made a huge roster shakeup.

Right now, that shakeup involves literally the biggest building block in the NBA: Shaquille O’Neal.

The trade scenario that seems to be garnering the most attention is O’Neal being traded to the Phoenix Suns for guard Marcus Banks and Shawn Marion. To me, this makes no sense for either team.

The Suns

For Phoenix, it completely goes against everything they’ve been about since Mike D’Antoni and Steve Nash got there. All they’ve wanted to do the last few years is run a fast-paced, small offense that gives opposing teams fits in trying to gameplan. No, they haven’t won a championship with that style. But all you ask for in the NBA is a chance to win a ring. And in the last few years, they’ve had their opportunities.

Bringing Shaq to that team completely changes the dynamic of the roster – in a bad way. All D’Antoni knows is up-tempo. All Nash runs is up-tempo. All Amare Stoudemire feeds off is up-tempo play. Now, all of a sudden, you’re going to tell D’Antoni and Nash they’re going to run a halfcourt set because of Shaq? Something they’ve never done before?

What will they do with Stoudemire? Are they going to play him at power forward? That’s a pretty big lineup and a huge change in strategy.

Would they bring Shaq off the bench? It’d be pretty dumb to trade your second-best player — and a starter — for a guy making more money than him who is coming off the bench and is always hurt.

I think it’s become pretty evident in the Suns’ front office that “The Matrix” will opt out of his contract by the end of this season, and they’re trying to get some value out of
him. But Shaq? I know O’Neal has made teams better everywhere he’s gone, but this team has always been built on speed and up-tempo play. Shaq can’t even get off the ground!

Truth is, the Lakers-Grizzlies trade for Pau Gasol has made everybody in the Western Conference nervous, and now they’re all scrambling to keep up because the talent disparity in the conference is so tight. The Suns, like the Heat, are merely panicking too early.

The Heat

As for the Miami, I really don’t think this is the way to go because small forwards are going to be available in bunches after the season. Big centers that shoot 60 percent from the field and still draw a lot of attention? Not so much. If the Heat do pull off this trade, who will be their center for the next few years? Mark Blount? Earl Barron?

Pat, I know you’re a really competitive guy, and you hate to lose, but why don’t you show a little more patience? You’re not going to get anything out of this season anyway. Why not wait to see what happens at the draft and in the free-agent market. Then you can think about trading Shaq.

I’m not saying the Heat wouldn’t get the better end of this deal – they would. I’m saying that Miami can be a lot better if they wait. Who knows, maybe they get the No. 1 overall pick, are able to move Blount and the other expiring contract and they pick up a nice free agent. All this while keeping Shaq. I’m not saying that will happen, but it can. And Miami loses nothing by waiting to see if it does.