Sunday , Mar , 09 , 2008 Oly Sandor

Shawn Marion or Shaquille O’Neal: Breaking Down Phoenix Suns’ Options

So far The Big Acquisition hasn’t worked. Although it’s early, I doubt this group will come together for Phoenix. The Suns logic for making this trade was flawed. O’Neal was supposedly brought-in for defense, but he’s never been a stopper. Even during his glory days with Los Angeles, he rarely jumped out on pick-and-rolls or committed to shutting down opposing centers …

Shawn Marion or Shaquille O'Neal: Breaking Down Phoenix Suns' OptionsThe South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports on Phoenix coach Mike D’Antoni rationalizing the Shawn Marion for Shaquille O’Neal trade:

"What people don’t understand, Shawn was gone," D’Antoni told Denver‘s Rocky Mountain News. "I mean, he was going to go. There were some problems with contracts and all that.

"It wasn’t like, ‘We have this team for the next three years, everybody’s happy, everybody’s cool, let’s go with it.’"

My Quick Take: So far The Big Acquisition hasn’t worked. Although it’s early, I doubt this group will come together for Phoenix.

The Suns logic for making this trade was flawed. O’Neal was supposedly brought-in for defense, but he’s never been a stopper. Even during his glory days with Los Angeles, he rarely jumped out on pick-and-rolls or committed to shutting down opposing centers.

And D’Antoni is wrong to act like Phoenix didn’t have a choice. They could’ve kept Shawn Marion, let him opt-out of his contract this summer and then reaped the benefits of 18 million dollars in available cap space.

For example, suppose the Marion trade never happened and The Matrix opted-out at season’s end. Phoenix, with their warm climate and star point guard, could’ve easily lured unrestricted free agents like Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, or Antawn Jamison.

I’d take Brand, Maggette, or Jamison over O’Neal. And teams with cap space always have options to upgrade talent. But instead of exercising logic and patience, amateur hour took over and the Suns’ front office got hustled into assuming O’Neal’s twenty million dollar per season contract.

Now D’Antoni has his team for the foreseeable future. Of course, it appears to be the wrong team and their window for an NBA Title has likely passed.

Should the Suns have let Marion leave as a free agent? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts. Click here to read and subscribe to Oly Sandor’s NBA Blog.

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