NBA Lunchroom Trades
Do you remember when you were in the 3rd grade and people asked you to swap lunches? Someone would try and pry your smoked turkey sandwich with all the fixin’s for their stinkin’ PB & J sandwich that their Mom slopped together. That made no sense then, and it would makes no sense now.
I already discussed the Pau Gasol trade, but using the lunchroom trade analogy I’d say Memphis traded their Ho Hos® for some carrot sticks. Now, Miami is poised to trade their PB & J (Shaq) to the Pheonix Suns for that smoked turkey sandwich (Shawn Marion). I ask why? The only thing I can come up with is the old “addition by subtraction” theory. Shawn Marion must have become such a pain-in-the-Equus asinus that the Suns are willing to accept a lesser commodity in return.
There is no question that in his prime, Shaq was by far the more dominant player in this mix. It’s not even up for debate. Sure, The Matrix is much more versatile, but nobody since Michael Jordan has been able to extol his will on a game quite like Shaq. The only way to stop him in his prime is to cowardly turn to the Hack-a-Shaq defense. However, this isn’t the Shaq of old. This is an aging (turns 36 next month) big man with a bad hip. He’s averaging a career low 14.2 points per game and his 7.8 rebound average is second to last years 7.4 for the lowest in his 16 year career.
Meanwhile, Shawn Marion is six years his junior, and is in the midst of another fabulous season. His scoring is down slightly (15.8 ppg), but there are a lot of mouths to feed in Phoenix. He’s still stuffing the stat line with 9.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.0 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game. He should be a nice compliment to Dwayne Wade.
Phoenix has tried and failed with the high tempo offense. Perhaps, the Shaq Daddy can help them in their half-court sets, which is what is needed in the playoffs. He’ll be able to bang with Tim Duncan, Marcus Camby, and Yao Ming. Perhaps most importantly, he’ll bring that million dollar smile and locker room presence to a team that needs a little something to push them over the top. Perhaps you could have gotten something better than Shaq’ PB & J, but you have to give Phoenix some credit for taking a chance here.
It will be fun to see Shaq and Kobe in the same conference. Personally, I’ve always sided with Shaq, and would continue to do so. It would be a pleasure if Shaq won his second ring without his former sidekick.