…and not in a good way.
Every possible exclamation I can utter is totally redundant of what professionals and other fans have been writing and saying for the past few hours. If you don’t know–because of either a lack of interest in basketball or an interest in things that will really matter–Shaquille O’Neal is about to be traded to the Phoenix Suns for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. In short, every Suns fan is stocking up on sharp objects to stab themselves in the eye with.
One of the few hundred reasons this trade makes no sense for the Suns is that it totally turns their back on a long-standing philosophy of basketball being a beautiful, fluid game. Instead of having a quick and athletic do-pretty-much-everything-possible player, they have received a 7’1″, 320 pound, 35 year old with declining stats, bad hips and zero motivation. Even at his peak, Shaq was more about pure dominance than finesse (save for some sweet passes here and there). The Cold War of basketball has pretty much been conceded by this turn; which should be depressing to Suns fans, basketball fans at large, and David Stern.
This is not to say that I thought the Suns should have stuck with what they had. Because of dissatisfaction on Marion’s part and a certain je ne sais quoi of team energy this season, something had to be done. But we should have gotten a more evenly balanced deal, clearly. We will now be saddled with a 20 million contract over the next two years, putting us into the luxury tax penalty that will also effectively put the kibosh on any free agent acquisitions. Because of trading away draft picks numerous times, we have little cheap talent developing. Ughhhh.
In addition, by making this move now, management has also declared to the league that the Suns are chumps (business wise) and are a bit lacking on that whole foresight thing. I guess it’s easy to criticize now, but why didn’t we make a run at Pau? He’s quicker, in his prime, has more fundamentals, and cheaper.
All that being said, I would love nothing more to be proven wrong and coronate Steve Kerr the most brilliant man ever. I’d even do it personally with a handmade tiara. More than that, I’d give him the crown if Shaq manages to be motivated for the next four months only. I just want one championship; he could take his 20 mil next year and relax as far as I’m concerned. Perhaps all this punditry talking about Shaqiasco will motivate The Big Aristotle to try just a little more and exact revenge on the naysayers. And if he does get a second renaissance and switches his play, I believe Steve Nash should have to split his third MVP with Suns trainer Aaron Nelson.