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2008, February 6: ESPN.com – Adding Shaq to Suns seems the wrong fit, but this deal could work

June 24, 2008

February 6, 2008 — When the Phoenix Suns signed Grant Hill to a
two-year contract in the offseason, I saw the handwriting on the wall
— a deal involving Shawn Marion would be coming some day, sooner or

It looks like that day is here. When I was on the Suns last season, I
always used to tell Marion that Amare Stoudemire is the big stud down
low, Steve Nash is the MVP, but he’s the MIP — the most important
player. Marion’s a great defensive player who can lead you in steals
and blocks, get you 20 points and 12 rebounds and you don’t even need
to run a play for him.

And now we have this proposal sending the MIP to Miami with Marcus Banks for Shaquille O’Neal.

I actually like this move for both teams, but I can see how a lot of people are going to be down on this deal.

You can see why. I’m a basketball fan, too. The Suns and Shaq together
seem like an oxymoron — the Suns pride themselves on leading the
league in scoring, spreading the floor with 3-point shooting and
precision execution with the trademark Suns’ style of play led by Nash.
And to this mix, you add an aging Shaq?

This tells me there has been a clash of styles in Phoenix. Playing for
coach Mike D’Antoni last season, it was run, run and run some more. But
general manager Steve Kerr has implemented a more defensive mentality.

D’Antoni likes to play as few as seven guys anyway, so this move would
give more time to Leandro Barbosa, Raja Bell and Hill in most games.
They’re going to need Shaq only for extended minutes in those roughly
30 percent of the games where they’re facing big centers — that’s what
you need Shaq for now.

In the playoffs, the game is going to slow down some, and that’s again
where Shaq comes in to play. Somebody’s got to play the 5, why not the

But if you’re a Suns fans, keep your fingers and toes crossed for good health for Shaq and Hill especially.

In one way, I’d be a little disappointed to see this deal happen. I
wanted to see if this current version of the Suns could finally break
through with that lineup and style, having fallen short the last three
seasons for different reasons.

This could be a good move for Miami. The Heat would be getting a guy
who could be an All-Star caliber player for them for the next five
seasons, if you can sign him to an extension.

ESPN analyst Jalen Rose is a regular ESPN.com contributor. For more about Jalen, visit his Web site: JalenRose.com.

By Jalen Rose – ESPN.com