The Diesel Heads West
Posted Feb 7 2008 6:53PM
Shaquille O'Neal and Shawn Marion are trading places.
Victor Baldizon/NBAE/Getty Images
SECAUCUS, N.J., Feb. 6, 2008 -- If the Western Conference wasn't interesting enough, the Big Diesel is coming back. The Suns have acquired Shaquille O'Neal from the Heat in exchange for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks.
WHAT THE SUNS HAD TO SAY
Suns.com: Official Press Release
The Phoenix Suns today acquired four-time NBA Champion Shaquille O’Neal from the Miami Heat in exchange for forward Shawn Marion and guard Marcus Banks, pending completion of physical examinations by both teams.
“We’re thrilled to add a player and person of Shaquille’s quality to our roster,” President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Steve Kerr said. “We believe this addition strengthens our team. We thank Shawn and Marcus for their contributions to our team. Shawn in particular has been a tremendous player for this organization the past eight-and-a-half years and his impact both on and off the court in Phoenix will not be forgotten.”
In hopes of improving their interior defense and battling against the bevy of Western Conference big men, Suns GM Steve Kerr made the move for the 7-1, 325-lb. giant. O’Neal, who is in the midst of his 15th season, returns to the Western Conference after capturing three NBA Championships with the arch-rival Los Angeles Lakers and one with the Miami Heat.
Believe it or not, it was 15 years ago Thursday that Shaq Daddy – he hadn’t adopted the Diesel or Big Aristotle nicknames yet – made his first NBA appearance in Phoenix in front of a national television audience.
WHAT THE HEAT HAD TO SAYHeat.com: Official Press Release
WHAT THE SCOUTS HAD TO SAY-- An NBA scout weighed in with his take on the trade.
It's kind of a befuddling trade to me, because Phoenix was playing so well.
I think that both teams have their reasons, but looking at it, Shawn Marion was a major cog in what Phoenix was doing. Did he just want to be gone that much? Was he that much of a jerk in the locker room for them to get rid of him?
I think they had a lot more problems in that locker room than other people knew. Because otherwise, you're getting rid of a guy that's an easy double-double almost every night, is a total matchup problem for everybody, can guard three spots and gets his hands on all kinds of balls to give you extra possessions.
WHAT THE FANTASY IMPACT WILL BE-- Rick Kamla offered his fantasy take on the deal.
Miami's trade of Shaquille O'Neal to Phoenix in exchange for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks is as shocking as the Giants beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
It's shocking because it is an admission by the Suns that they cannot win it all playing smallball. It's shocking because a soon-to-be 36-year-old Shaq is in the twilight of his career while the 29-year-old Marion is in the prime of his. It's shocking because the previously prudent Suns are now on the hook for the final 2.5 years of Shaq's five-year, $100 million contract. It's shocking because I thought Shaq was done for the year.
WHAT THE NBA.COM COURT REPORTERS HAD TO SAY
Oh, Shaq. You've done it again.
Throughout your illustrious career, you've shown your ability to make noise on or off the court. With three Finals MVPs, two All-Star Game MVPs and one regular season MVP, you've given brain-dead headline writers more than enough chances to use the clichéd warhorse: Center of Attention...
... Do you just see this a new challenge for you? Will you be inspired in moving from the soft pastels and humidity of South Beach to the bright oranges and yellows and dry heat of the Valley of the Sun? You have four rings. Yet, you need to prove yourself all over again. How does that feel? Because, you know, this could be your last chance to stick it to everyone who thinks this is a terrible idea and you're just a hulking shell of your former self...
TOP MID-SEASON TRADES IN NBA HISTORY
SECAUCUS, NJ, Feb. 6, 2008 -- A four-time All-Star being swapped for a 14-time All-Star in the middle of a season will to be remembered for a long time as a blockbuster deal that shook the league’s landscape, but this isn’t the first time an NBA superstar was part of a mid-season deal …
WHAT THE MEDIA IS SAYING
Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic checks in with a series of interviews: coach Mike D'Antoni, general manager Steve Kerr, point guard Steve Nash and a few other players.
Adrian Wojnarowski thinks the deal hinged on Phoenix thinking Shaq has something left in the tank and that he'll stay in shape and ease the leadership burden on Nash.
Henry Abbott analyzes the way Shaq plays to try and reconcile how he'll fit in to the Phoenix offense.
Michael Grange isn't buying what Nash is selling.
The Painted Area simply asks: What the Shaq?!.
J.E. Skeets cornered Ernie Johnson to hear his take.
Michael Lee writes that this deal -- and the Gasol one -- are all about one player.
Brian Schmitz thinks the Big Fella's got one move left.
Knickerblogger wonders if the Phoenix side was worse than any trade Isiah Thomas made for the Knicks.
"The Suns want Shaq because they need defense. More specifically, they need defense in the likely event they run across the man who’s been kryptonite for them in the postseason: Tim Duncan." - Austin Burton
FOXSports.com: Is shadow of Shaq really worth it?
"His 325-pound plus body is suffering the consequences of his 16-year career with hip, knee and ankle problems that have rendered him just a shadow of his former self – although it is that very large shadow that still makes him attractive to the Suns to take a big rip at the wide open 2008 title. Obviously the feeling is if they can prop him up for minor minutes until late in the season, he could be the deciding factor in the playoffs." - Mike Kahn
SI.com: Phoenix set to roll the dice
"In a recent phone call to Steve Nash, Shaquille O'Neal assured the Phoenix Suns' All-Star point guard, "I won't let you down." If O'Neal passes his physical, which should take place sometime around 4 p.m. ET this afternoon, he will get the chance to prove that is true." - Jack McCallum
Yahoo! Sports: Suns will regret trading for O'Neal
"As long as the Phoenix Suns linger as that championship-free franchise in the desert, they will continue to regret making a trade for a broken-down Shaquille O'Neal. Between going for it, and sheer desperation, there is the finest line. What happened to believing in Mike D'Antoni's system? What happened to believing speed and finesse could deliver a championship?" - Adrian Wojnarowski
Miami Sun-Sentinel: On second thought... the man's a genius
"Say what you want about Pat Riley handling two high-end jobs. But in his role as Heat president, he has made more money disappear than Enron. Suddenly, $50 million for 2 1/2 seasons of Shaquille O'Neal seems like market value, a contract fitting of the championship productivity delivered. Riley is like that annoying uncle who, when you're eight, rips up that dollar bill and makes the pieces vanish into thin air. Does anybody in the NBA make money disappear better?" - Ira Winderman
Arizona Republic: Where "OMG, Shaq's a Sun" happens
"So is this really why Amare Stoudemire changed his number from 32 to 1? That's some foresight. And that's some set of, um, nerves that your first-year Suns general manager is showing." - Paul Coro
East Valley Tribune: Get Ready … Here Comes Shaq!
"Sources said both Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire were asked on Tuesday for their reaction to O’Neal possibly joining the team, and both were in favor of the move." - Jerry Brown
ESPN.com's TrueHoop: First Cup Wednesday: Shaquille O'Neal -- Shawn Marion Special Edition
"Unbelievable, isn't it?" - Henry Abbott
New York Newsday: Shaq to Suns reaction
“It’s a go-for-broke gamble for the Suns, who have enjoyed enormous success with an unorthodox, fast-paced style of play that nonetheless has left them exposed in the more halfcourt-oriented postseason and thus without a championship for their trouble. GM Steve Kerr and coach Mike D’Antoni are betting that even a vastly diminished Shaq – who is struggling with a hip injury and declining physical abilities – can provide a post-up presence against the likes of Yao Ming, Tim Duncan, Tyson Chandler, and Andrew Bynum (when he returns from a knee injury)." - Ken Berger
New York Newsday: The Knicks Fix
"Put away the ESPN Trade Machine for now. All reports say Shaq is headed to Phoenix in exchange for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. Hey, Shaq to New York makes zero sense, especially financially, so let's not even go there. Isiah Thomas has known Shawn Marion has been available since training camp, when Marion first started leaking hints that he was going to opt out. You have to hope the Knicks stayed in touch on that topic. But, really, what do the Knicks have that the Suns would want in exchange for Marion? Please, don't say Renaldo Balkman. Please, don't." - Alan Hahn
AOL Fanhouse: Shaq Is Getting Traded to the Suns?!
"None of us around here can believe it, but it appears that somehow, someway, the Phoenix Suns are a physical away from trading Shawn Marion for the aging and expensive Shaquille O'Neal. With our second major trade in less than a week seemingly imminent, it's definitely time for another roundtable." - Brett Edwards
Toronto Star: Shaq on the move. Will D'Antoni drink poison?
"The Suns had bad chemistry in the locker room before today and something needed to be done. Shaquille O’Neal is not the answer." - Doug Smith
Orlando Sentinel: Shaq To Join Buddy Grant Hill In Another Title Run By Ex-Magic Stars
"Grant Hill once told me that he and Shaq always talk about going into business together once their NBA careers come to a close. But first, the two former Magic men are apparently going to do some business on the floor, with O'Neal heading from Miami to Phoenix to join Hill. Do they have one good body part between them?" - Brian Schmitz