So here goes trying to get into the mind of Steve Kerr:
If the Suns do it, it means they are probably in panic mode about losing Marion for nothing at the end of the season (Matrix has a $17M player option next year).. And they probably feel that offers will only get worse towards the trading deadline since other teams will realize how desperate they are to deal.
Shaq's contract is basically $20M per year all the way until 2009-10. Marion has the aforementioned player option at the end of the year for $17.1M, and Banks is being paid around $4M per year to sit on the bench... all the way through 2010-11.
So if they somehow appeased Shawn "I want to be traded" Marion, they'd be looking at another long term deal to keep him on (which they've said they don't want to do); a questionable move since he would be getting older and obviously chafes at having less star power than Amare.
Since they are trying to ride Nash's creaky back (team option in 2009-10) while they can, this gamble isn't necessarily mortgaging their future either.
So I guess Kerr is hoping Shaq/Amare/Nash can keep them competitive and/or get them a ring in the next couple years.. and if not, they unload Nash and Shaq's combined $35M in 2010 and can rebuild around Amare, Barbosa, and possibly Diaw--a pretty solid core by anyone's estimation.
And if we assume that Shaq never gets healthy or never fits in..
Two years ago Amare was out and Nash took a team of Marion, Diaw, Bell, Tim Thomas, Kurt Thomas, and Barbosa to the Western Conference Finals, where they lost to Dallas in six games.
07-08 Suns (assuming the trade happens and Shaq never plays)
Granted, the Diaw of today isn't as good as he used to be.. But Hill is an upgrade over Thomas and Barbosa has only gotten better. For all the concerns over Nash, he is statistically on par with recent years.
While the competition this year is tougher than back then, one can argue that losing Marion won't exactly put the Suns in lottery status, and certainly leaves
enough left to make some serious noise in the playoffs.
If (a big fat IF) Shaq happens to get some semblance of his old form back, even if it's only for the postseason.. Then this move is going to look like a stroke of genius.
Old Man Shaq averaged 19 pts and 9 rebs the last 2 years in the playoffs, which of course includes the year they beat the Mavs for the championship. If the Suns can manage a 4-man running game while going to O'neal when the game gets bogged down, then who knows?
I would definitely love to see a defensive scheme to stop a Shaq-Amare-Hill-Bell-Nash lineup.
It's cute to say the least.
One question for Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace though..
You traded Pau Gasol for this:
- Kwame Brown's expiring contract ($9 Million)
- Javaris Crittenton (A good PG but not better than Conley or Lowry, so he'll never play)
- Marc Gasol (Pau's brother, who was a 2nd round pick and may never be an impact player)
- 2 (most likely late) first round picks in '08 and '10
Or you could have made a deal centered around Gasol for Marion and gotten $16 Million in cap relief?