Jermaine O’Neal for Shawn Marion would benefit Toronto and Miami
Prior to tip-off between Toronto and Phoenix, reports were swirling that Jermaine O’Neal had been traded to Miami for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. This seemed logical. After all, the Raptors and Heat had been talking trade. And O’Neal was a late scratch from the line-up. The reports were false. Rumour was not reality. The post was apparently sitting the second of back-to-back games for health reasons …
The Air Canada Centre was buzzing and it had nothing to do with Steve Nash returning home.
Prior to tip-off between Toronto and Phoenix, reports were swirling that Jermaine O’Neal had been traded to Miami for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. This seemed logical. After all, the Raptors and Heat had been talking trade. And O’Neal was a late scratch from the line-up.
The reports were false. Rumour was not reality. The post was apparently sitting the second of back-to-back games for health reasons.
Still something, other than Lake Ontario, smelt. Consider that GM Bryan Colangelo declined an on-camera interview, but didn’t deny the report. Coach Jay Triano tried playing dumb at the post-game press conference, but failed. Of course, O’Neal, himself, recently predicted he would be calling South Beach home by season’s end.
Toronto and Miami will continue pursuing a swap. This deal makes sense.
Why Toronto is talking trade …
- No O’Neal. No problem. Andrea Bargnani stepped-in as the starter and made the veteran pivot expendable. Developing the Italian, a former first overall pick, is the front office’s priority, so something or someone (that’s O’Neal) has to give.
- Toronto needs to upgrade the three-spot. Marion would ease the scoring and rebounding pressure on Bosh. Also, a frontcourt featuring The Matrix, CB4, and Bargnani could get the dinos back in the playoff hunt.
- Marion and Colangelo have history from their days in Phoenix. The two-time Executive of the Year drafted, groomed, and gave the small forward his max contract. If things work out, the former All-Star could stay up north past this season.
- If not, Marion’s deal expires at season’s end. This gives Toronto immediate cap space to chase this summer’s free agents and convince Bosh to re-sign before his own deal expires in July of 2010.
Why Miami is talking trade …
- Marion hasn’t worked out. The forward isn’t producing (13 points and 9 rebounds) and has a similar game to rookie Michael Beasley. O’Neal would provide inside scoring and open up the floor for Beasley and superstar Dwyane Wade.
- O’Neal’s 20 million dollar contract expires in July of 2010. This would give the Heat enough financial flexibility to re-sign Wade and also land a premier supporting star.
- Riley has a track record of controversial moves, especially when it involves veteran players. For example, a year ago, the oil slick dealt for Marion by giving up Shaquille O’Neal. Before that, he made several risky deals to help the Heat win the 2006 NBA Title.
Bottom line: Toronto and Miami are looking at all options. Before February’s trade deadline, the rumours could very well materialize into something more concrete.