Saturday , Jun , 23 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Kevin Garnett Rumors Expose Shawn Marion’s Issues With Phoenix Suns

The Garnett to Phoenix trade rumor has stalled, but the spotlight has been put on Shawn Marion … It’s clear The Matrix has worn out his welcome with the Suns and is being blamed for the team’s chemistry issues … Click here for this story and analysis …

CNNSI’s Chris Mannix reports on Phoenix’s chemistry issues:

 Which brings us back to Marion. While the Matrix has been one of the most statistically productive players in the league over the last five years, it has become clear that Phoenix is looking to make a change. Word of chemistry issues in the Suns’ locker room has filtered through the league since Phoenix’s second-round ouster. If you discount seldom-used Jalen Rose (one general manager called him "the worst locker room lawyer in the league"), those problems can only be attributed to Marion and Amaré Stoudemire.

Jack McCallum, another CNNSI writer, spent the 2005-2006 season on Phoenix’s bench. He wrote a book, 0:7 Seconds or Less, on his experiences. And McCallum addresses the issues between the and :

It hurts him that he has never been The Man in Phoenix. Jason Kidd was The Man, then Stephon Marbury was The Man, then Nash became The Man the moment he showed up in the summer of 2004. There have always been other Hamlets, while Marion has been consigned to the role of Rosencrantz or Guildenstern. Worse, Stoudmire before his injury, seemed to have settled into Second Man status behind Nash, leaving Marion as the Third Wheel. After he was selected as an All-Star reserve, Marion said, “Ever since I’ve been in Phoenix, I tried to make myself the face of the Suns on and off the court. That’s what it’s all about.” But he is not the face of the Suns. Nash and D’Antoni are the dual faces, and whenever Marion’s face appears, Stoudmire is likely to, also. That drives him crazy. He appreciates Nash and gets along with him, but doesn’t feel the same about Stoudemire.

“Around here it’s Steve this and Amare’ that,” says Marion. “What people forget is that I had to adjust my game to different people. I had J-Kidd. I had Steph. Now I have Steve. All of them are different. I made the adjustments. You got to give me credit now. Don’t overlook that.

    “The other thing is, people judge players on points. And I think that’s wrong.” That is obviously directed towards Stoudemire.

My Quick Take: I recommend McCallum’s book. I read it on Boxing Day last year. He takes the reader inside Phoenix’s season and locker room. It’s a must-have for NBA fans. 

It’s important to be fair. 0:7 Seconds or Less also looks at Marion’s positive traits. D’Antoni and the Suns’ coaching staff like The Matrix, but find him extremely sensitive and, at times, exhausting.

After reading this book, I considered the possibility Marion could be moved. After reading an ESPN The Magazine article on Marion in mid-May, I became convinced Phoenix would eventually trade him-especially if they didn’t make the NBA Finals.

However, I never considered that the Suns would chase . It blindsided me. There are a couple of issues holding up a K.G- partnership in the Arizona desert.

First, Robert Sarver, Phoenix’s owner, wants to steer clear of the luxury tax. Adding The Big Ticket would add, well, a big ticket to the team’s payroll. Steve Kerr, the team’s new GM, was hired to shed salary.

Second, Minnesota doesn’t want Marion. The Wolves will only trade Garnett for . Ironically, even with trade rumors, Marion is getting overshadowed and eclipsed by STAT.

Right now, the Suns and Wolves are at an impasse. A K.G. deal could still materialize. It’s just not the slam dunk of a few days ago.

One thing is clear: Phoenix has to trade Marion. It might not be for Garnett. But it has to happen this summer. The sooner, the better.

How do you bring Marion back after these trade rumors?

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