Wow, it’s been quite a sports week for The Blot. First Kobe and the Lakers get a late Christmas present from the Grizzles in the form of Pau Gasol, and then the Phoenix Suns pull off one of the craziest trades I’ve seen in a while trading disgruntled Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks to the Miami Heat for the G.O.A.T. If you’ve never heard of the term G.O.A.T. before, let me spell it out for you…the Greatest of All Time. Yes that’s right, the Big Aristotle himself Shaquille O’Neal is heading back west. Shaq Fu reigns down on the NBA’s Western Conference again and who knows what this will mean for the Suns or the rest of the NBA.
I’m pretty shocked to say the least. What once started out as an unbelievable rumor quickly turned to fact and has left many pundits completely stunned. No one seems to be able to explain how either of these two monumental trades got done. I can’t remember the last time two huge, lopsided trades like this occurred before the NBA All-Star game, and I think it’s great for the Association. Right as the NFL season ends, here's the NBA jumping into the limelight fighting to become the main sporting attraction in the U.S. (for the next four or five months at least).
The biggest question on my mind though is what is Suns’ General Manager Steve Kerr thinking? I’ve heard arguments for and against the trade, but no matter how you view it it’s a very risky move. Shaq’s played something like 6 games over the past four weeks and has been inconsistent all year. His hip’s been giving him problems and his 35 year old body is wearing down. That being said there’s no one in this league I’d want watching my back and help leading me to a championship more than O’Neal.
Now I may be biased as seeing how Shaq’s been my favorite player since I had the opportunity to see him play live in Birmingham during the SEC tournament at the age of 12 back in 1992. O’Neal was amazing then and even now, at the lowest point statistically of his career, is still considered by many to be the M.D.E. (Most Dominate Ever). With 14 straight NBA All-Star appearances O’Neal is not quite done carrying the torch of the NBA, which he has done since he entered the league and NBA greats Magic, Bird and MJ decided to hang up their sneakers. Shaquille still has 2 years and $40 million left on his contract and he has publicly committed to playing it out. While I am sure Shaq is sad to say goodbye to Dwyane Wade with whom he won his fourth NBA title, he has evidently had a falling out with Heat Head Coach Pat Riley, which seems to have facilitated the trade to Phoenix.
Shaq is now teamed up with 2 time NBA MVP Steve Nash, who he has a great fondness of. Only time will tell if the move was a smart one and how Shaq’s body will hold up, but I, like J.A. Adande, already see a reinvention of LA’s Showtime (except this time it’s taking place out in the desert). (link) With Nash, Amare Stoudemire and Grant Hill, the Suns should be very formidable. I just hope Shaq will be healthy enough to play in the Suns’ February 20th game against Kobe and the Lakers in Phoenix. That and he’s healthy for the Suns’ trip to Houston this April. Thank goodness The Blot held off on buying tickets to the Rockets vs. Heat game in April, what a horrible game that is going to be now!