Saturday , Jan , 17 , 2009 Oly Sandor

Remembering Phoenix, forgetting Miami: How Shawn Marion saves his career

Not all change is good. And the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Shawn Marion is learning this the hard way. He once thrived in Phoenix, using athleticism and wingspan to become a franchise staple. On the surface, The Matrix had everything: All-Star status, a ‘max’ contract, and a devoted local fan base …

Remembering Phoenix, forgetting Miami: How Shawn Marion saves his careerNot all change is good. And the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Shawn Marion is learning this the hard way. He once thrived in Phoenix, using athleticism and wingspan to become a franchise staple. On the surface, The Matrix had everything: All-Star status, a ‘max’ contract, and a devoted local fan base.

Well, almost everything.

Marion, despite being the team’s highest paid player, was unhappy with his third star status behind Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire. Like a teenager, the forward pouted and lobbied for change.

A year ago, he got his wish. Phoenix, wanting to preserve team chemistry, dealt their malcontent to Miami for Shaquille O’Neal. Marion welcomed the move, even though the Suns were playoff bound, while the Heat had a one-way ticket to the lottery.

Today, things are different for Marion. His reputation has fallen further than the real estate and stock markets combined. And the former star will take a huge pay cut when he hits the free agent market come summer.

Despite currently being little more than an expiring contract, all is not lost. This summer, Marion, if he plays his cards wisely, can resurrect his career.

First, Marion has to accept that Miami has exposed him. He is not a superstar. Never will be either. Not with his poor dribbling and fragile mindset. So the pogo stick can’t scare off teams by demanding a massive contract on the open market. Instead, he should sell himself as an excellent blending player.

Second, Marion must pick between security, positioning, and winning. Teams with cap space will offer a long-term pact at middle-level money. However, he could sign a cheap one-year deal, play well next season, and try for a payday in July 2010. Of course, there is also the Michael Finley route, where Marion signs with a contender for reduced dollars.

Finally, Marion needs the right system and people around him. A fast break style and strong point guard is a start. And, for all the grief he gave Mike D’Àntoni, an upbeat, player-friendly coach is a must.

Hopefully, a change brings something better. For Marion, contrary to his recent denials, the grass has to be greener than Miami.

What are your thoughts on Marion’s declining status? What should he do next summer? Get at us in the comment box below and come back to HoopsVibe The Blog for more details. Photo courtesy of twolves32387.