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Should the impending trade for Shaquille O'Neal go through as expected, the Suns will have completed a disastrous step closer to tripping headlong into the abyss of stupid trades made out of desperation to "keep up with the Jones (Lakers)". Let me elaborate.. I'll try to keep my disdain and profanity to a minimum...
I've never been a fan of O'Neal and actually grew to really despise him while playing for the Lakers. He has always been an incredibly pompous, arrogant, and egotistical fool of a player who's seemingly more interesting in trying to emulate Superman than be as dedicated as he can be to winning and staying at the top of his game. This is evidenced by his feuding with Kobe Bryant and his subsequent departure from Lakerland to the sunny shores of South Beach. Obviously two egos of significant size could not co-exist despite three championships and the possibilty for more. I blame Bryant too, but it goes deeper than just him. That situation went all the way to the top, and you see just how well the Lakers' fortunes have been since o'Neal left town...
Moving on to Marion, I've always been a fan. I knew of his play long before I attended UNLV and was happy to see him get drafted by the Suns. His contributions to the team were immediate and continue through to this day. He ranks among the team's all time leaders in minutes, points, blocks, rebounds, and probably a ton of other stats. He will be deeply missed, no question. That said, I can't say that I've ALWAYS been happy with Marion. I wrote quite a humor ous blog about his nonsense trade demand/request during the off season. If you'd like to see just how irritated I was at that time, read my Blog on here entitled, "Dr. Reality will see you now, Mr. Marion". You can find it here:
Shawn had the decency to put his trade nonsense aside once the regular season began. However, Marion nixed a possible trade to MIN or BOS in the potential deal to land the Suns Kevin Garnett. Marion would have been "the MAN" as he so eagerly wanted to be and could have proved all the naysayers wrong who proclaim that Marion is nothing more than a product of the Suns' system and Nash's prowess with the ball. Marion said that he wouldn't sign an extension with either team and thus killed the deal, enabling BOS to deal with MIN directly and get Garnett instead. I'm still shocked by that trade, and as expected, wrote a blog about it right after the trade went down. It's also on my Blog list as, "Kevin Garnett: A new beginning or sad end". Again, you can find that here:
After the trade was completed and Marion decided to best handle it with a self-imposed silence, it appeared that all was fine and we'd be contenders once again. Naturally, as the season progressed, speculation on Marion's accesibility to be traded surfaced once again. This was prompty denied by the organization, most notably by the team's primary owner, Robert Sarver. Sarver stated that Marion was a part of the "team's core and would no part of it would be traded." Clearly, the recent developments would certainly paint Sarver in the not so subtle tones of 'hypocrite red' and 'Lakers envy green'.
Banks, a fellow UNLV alumnus has not played up to the gawdy contract that he signed for two seasons ago. He has seen frequent bench time and has played sparingly but, when given an opportunity, has attempted to make the most of it. In a game not that long ago, Banks came off the bench and hit seven 3-point shots. He's also been relatively solid on defense but has since had his playing time cut due to D.J. Strawberry receiving more playing time. As such, his inclusion into this trade is no surprise. I expected more from him but all we got was less. What a bummer.
These two players are the Suns' loss and certainly MIA's gain. This will give both players the opportunity to start over and will benefit Marion most. It will also benefit Dwayne Wade and gives him another high flying, speedy player to run with and a solid backup as insurance should Jayson Williams be sent packing at the last minute. I feel that both players will fit in nicely and rejuvenate a woeful MIA team that's struggled after winning their only NBA championship.
I wish both of my fellow alums the best and wish them many happy years of basketball. Hopefully both will play solidly and show the Suns just how ignorant they were to listen to a trade proposal that makes little sense for the Suns' style of play. I mentioned to a Lakers fan a few days ago that I didn't feel as though their team did enough to develop talent over a long term period and were, with the Gasol trade, becoming the Yankees of the NBA and "buying" a championship since their golden goose (Bryant) can't cash in and bring the team another championship. I understand that the NBA is merely a business; this is clearly illustrated by this hypocritical management move as seen from a fan's perspective. Further, so far as I see it, this is a move made out of pure desperation and envy of the Lakers for their fleecing the Grizzlies in the Gasol deal. Nash is a supreme talent, but his clock is inevitably ticking towards his career end. The Suns, as I'd accused the Lakers before, are trying to buy their championship while Nash still has something left.
Sure, they'll be tremendous cap space when O'Neal is gone. Will we be able to lure James from CLE? I doubt it. How about another marquee player from elsewhere? Who knows. But, as fan of the team, I'm not looking upon this day fondly and will remember it forever. Shame on you, Robert Sarver, you freakin' moron and cheapwad! This is your doing. You lost a major fan today.