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

Robert Sarver and Steve Kerr Have Gone “All-In” with the Matrix for Diesel Deal

Robert Sarver and Steve Kerr Have Gone “All-In” with the Matrix for Diesel Deal

My flabber is officially gasted. I am flabbergasted. Excitement and confusion are washing Phoenix Suns fans this morning. On one hand, I’m as giddy as a school girl at a Justin Timberlake concert. On the other hand, I’m not sure whether I should jump off the nearest sidewalk and end it all.

I know one thing, though: The Suns are not going to be contenders five years from now unless Shaquille O’Neal gets his title this year and then retires. The moaning of Suns’ fans that Sarver (sometimes spelled “$arver”) does not spend money must end. He’s committed to paying Shaq $20 million a year through the 2009-2010 season. Shawn Marion has a player option next year for about $18 million and this offseason the Suns refused to give him the three-year, $20 million extension that he wanted. Banks was in there as trade-filler, but his $4 million a year for the next three years is nothing compared to Shaq’s cost. If Shaq sticks around, this will cost the Suns more, not less.

So, unless Shaq retires after he gets a ring this year, one thing is certain – the Suns will slide and I will be able to get much better season tickets and will have good seats for the Suns’ title run in 2015.

Here are a bunch of random thoughts, each one of which could probably give rise to extended discussion:

  1. The biggest question mark here is health. You have to imagine that Sarver and Kerr have a good handle on the condition of Shaq’s hip or else they are the biggest morons in the history of the league. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

  1. Everyone knew Marcus Banks was a problem in the locker room, but Marion’s discontent must have been larger than anyone on the outside really knew. This could be a huge lockerroom and “chemistry” move.

  1. How much does this change the Suns’ style? They haven’t been running as much this year, but that is most likely related – to some degree – to the fact that the other team is averaging 10 offensive boards a game on a high shooting percentage.

  1. It will help the Suns’ defense. Amare Stoudemire has been getting destroyed by low-post players. Anything is an improvement. Even though Shaq gets a lot of fouls, so does Amare. Having Shaq absorb Amare’s fouls will help keep the Suns’ best offensive player on the floor.

  1. It may help the Suns’ offense. It will be different. Can Steve Nash get Shaq the ball? Probably. Will Shaq be a focal point? Probably not. Will Shaq embrace that role? No one knows.

  1. Amare grew up idolizing Shaq. He gave up his #32 jersey last year.

  1. How much will this slow the Suns down? I’ve heard it argued that the Showtime Lakers had four guys breaking and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

  1. Is this a conspiracy by the NBA? McHale rejuvenates the Boston Celtics, Jerry West revitalizes the Lakers and now there is a Kobe-Shaq/Bus showdown in the Western Conference. Or is it simply that Kerr is still on the Spurs’ payroll?

  1. Did the Suns overreact? A Bynum-Gasol-Odom frontline would be deadly, but is Bynum going to get back to 100% for the playoffs (and with enough time to get back into the game)?

  1. Did the Suns finally get the big man they have been seeking since they lost Lew Alcindor in the coin toss or is this the next Dennis Johnson-for-Rick Robey trade?

Sarver and Kerr have gone “all-in” but they have done it with a pair of jacks instead of a pair of aces. A seemingly strong, but deceptively weak hand, and a move that smacks of desperation.

Here is where I come down on the whole thing (at least right now):

The NBA is entertainment and this move is entertaining me.