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Land of the Setting Shaq?

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Look what has happened now that Eli Manning has won a Super Bowl MVP.  The entire fabric of sports is unraveling around us.

The most exciting team in the league is reportedly about to acquire the least mobile and most expensive paint plugger in the NBA.

Why on earth would the Phoenix Suns want to add Shaq in exchange for their most versatile player?  Are things so bad in the locker room and the Suns are so ready to deal Marion that they will take anything just to ship him and Marcus Banks toxic deal out of town?

What do I think?  Well, thanks for asking.  I think this is all Memphis’ fault.

Apparently many NBA general managers were in a state of shock that Memphis traded Pau Gasol away and received so little in return.  Chad Ford wrote an article listing ten trades that were either better or equal to the Grizzlies offer (ESPN Insider article that is currently available to all).  

I think there is something to that angle of the story.  I think GM’s were blown away by that trade.  This is the first panic move generated by the Gasol to LA transaction.  The internet is abuzz with effusive praise for the Lakers.  The speed at which everyone is handing the Lakers the Larry O’Brien trophy makes the Celtics offseason coronation seem glacial by comparison.

If they do this deal I believe they will be looking at it from the perspective that the Lakers are now better than they are and they need a big body to match up with Bynum and Gasol.  

Amare Stoudemire has continued to get in foul trouble over and over this season trying to guard the opposing center.  Amare has ended the game with five fouls 15 times in 48 games.  That is almost one of every three games they are in danger of losing Amare to a DQ.  The Suns will definitely be thinking of how much better off Amare would be back at the power forward spot as well as having a bigger player available to work against the Bynums and Duncans of the west.

I say, "Steve Kerr, hang up that phone."  In the immortal words of Dikembe Mutumbo, "Don’t they get cable?"  Has Kerr not seen Shaq try to play this season?  He is still a somewhat effective player, but the Suns half court offense is predicated on spacing the floor with shooters.  Shaq will be an anchor in the middle that could completely bog down their free flowing offense.  

Defensively, sure maybe he can body up to guys like Bynum and maybe even Duncan, but both the Lakers and Spurs run pick and roll with their big men and Shaq has never stepped up to guard the pick and roll in his life.  Well, maybe he did at LSU, but those tapes have been destroyed.  According to 82games.com the Heat give up 4.5 more points per 100 possessions when Shaq is on the pine or in the whirlpool.  That is nothing to scoff at, but it may have more to do with the fact that he is backed up by Mark Blount than his defensive prowess.  However, to be fair, Shaq is at least a big obstacle that can help make the trek to the basket a little dicier.  

But on the defensive end of the floor you must keep in mind how badly the loss of Marion will hurt.  Marion was the only player that could guard Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, not to mention any player in between.  Any minimal benefit Shaq brings will be negated by Marion’s departure.

The bottom line is I cannot believe the Suns would do this deal if they did not believe it makes them a stronger contender, but that only means that we have lost another promising young GM in Steve Kerr to the dark side which is occupied by Kevin McHale, Isiah Thomas and Billy Knight.  

The other time Shaq was traded he was hailed as a conquering hero.  From the feedback so far from Suns fans, I do not think they will have a huge procession to usher him into town as they did when he arrived in Miami.  In fact, that caravan better have some kind of secret service or military attachment to protect it from attack by a Suns fan base that is feeling increasingly betrayed by their team.

Then again, they all lamented the departure of Tim Thomas, well, be careful what you wish for because here comes his replacement.