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    Shaq Traded to Phoenix- Staff Reaction

    Shonto Olander, Sports Editor: Everything in the NBA seems to revolve around the Lakers, and with this trade, where Shaq goes to Phoenix while Miami receives Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks, it’s obvious the Suns over-reacting to the Gasol trade. While with Marion the Suns couldn’t’ match up with teams with big front lines, it always seemed their goal was to run the bigs into the ground and bear them useless. Getting Shaq would be a great move for any other team, but not for this Phoenix Suns team. He is still talented but he won’t keep up with Phoenix’s offense. In a limited role he might be great to have, but don’t expect the Diesel to give now what he once gave Miami.

    Adrian Carrasquillo, Asst. Sports Editor: Its interesting because Marion is 29 and Shaq is 36. This is the move Phoenix has been criticized for not making in the past. Now with Shaq’s arrival, its going to be like KG, its more about his impact on defense and leadership. They needed a guy who could match up with Tim Duncan. You wonder why the Spurs win, it’s because they have the championship pedigree players. Phoenix just traded for some.

    Gene Morris, Asst. Sports Editor: This is a dumb trade for the Suns. Shaq does not fit into their system at all. If this is a reaction to the Lakers trade, I am surprised. Phoenix has done a great job the last few years building a unique team that no one else could match up against. Marion was a key piece to that team. If not for Robert Horry’s body check on Steve Nash in the Western Finals last year, Phoenix probably would have been the NBA Champions. Now there biggest advantage over every other team, offense, will not be as great. And having an overweight, injury prone Shaq will not help the defense that much.

    Brian Morgan, Staff Writer: Shaq going to Phoenix is definitely strange. Shaq is the last player, besides Robert ‘Tractor’ Trayler, that would come to mind that would fit in the fast and up-tempo offense run by Steve Nash. It was most likely done in reaction to the trade done between the Lakers and Grizzlies, where the Lakers stole Pau Gasol from the lowly Grizzlies. Although he only has a couple years left in the tank, Shaq gives the Suns, along with Amare Stoudimere, the ability to compete in the post with Gasol and Andrew Bynum come playoff time. Shawn Marion is a high caliber player that can thrive in the East, but will this be the only season as a Heat? He has the ability to opt-out of his contract after this season, and he will look for more than the 17 million that he’s scheduled to make next year, along with a multi-year deal. The Heat are still several pieces away from a championship team and it’s seemingly impossible to think that they can even steal the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference. I can’t say who will be on the better end of the deal until the beginning of next season. If the Suns win the championship because of Shaq, then they will have received the better end of the deal. If the Suns don’t win the championship, then it depends on whether the Heat manage to turn around their season and sign Marion to a multi-year deal.

    Matt Ehresman, Staff Writer: Shaquille O’Neal’s run in Miami is over. When he was sent there the expectations were to help bring them a championship. Mission accomplished. Miami also understood that at some point the Big Diesel was bound to break down. Well he has, and now he’s getting towed off to Phoenix where the Suns are hoping he has one last ride in him. For the Heat, this was the steal of a lifetime. What they’re getting back in Shawn Marion is a defensive stud, and a legitimate 2nd scoring option behind Dwyane Wade. For Phoenix this trade makes no sense to me. While I know they’re lacking a big body in the middle to go up against the likes of Ming and Duncan, O’Neal is not the answer. O’Neal was never known for being a defensive force in his prime, and his arthritic hip may become problematic when asked to log big minutes. Now the Suns are not going to ask for the offensive production that the Heat needed, but how he’ll fit into this offense is beyond me. I can’t see O’Neal being able to run with this team. While everyone becomes a better player with Steve Nash, O’Neal will not provide the offensive production of Marion and will disrupt the continuity of this unit. I know Marion had grown tired of being the third man behind Nash and Amare Stoudamire, but this move only detracts from a team that has put together two 60 win seasons. There’s no guarantee that O’Neal will stay healthy, and even if he does his days of carrying teams through June are over. The Suns are hoping he can take them to the next level. This team was a technicality (Stoudamire’s ludicrous suspension) from heading to the Western Conference Finals last year. The biggest impact of this trade on the Suns will not be O’Neal’s production, but the loss of one of the NBA’s most well rounded players in Shawn Marion.

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