2/13/09

Shawn Marion and Jermaine O'Neal Trade Analysis

So a blockbuster trade went down today in the NBA. Toronto's Jermaine O'Neal and Jamario Moon (along with some filler) got traded to Miami for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks.

I like this trade for Toronto. They get to get a look at Shawn Marion for free, and they get his defense and athleticism alongside Chris Bosh. It also gave them a chance to get rid of Jermaine O'Neal's awful contract and his injury-prone career. Remember how Marion was in MVP talks when he was playing with the Suns? What did that Suns team have? They had a two-time MVP point guard in Nash, an athletic big man in Amare, and shooters galore. Well, Toronto doesn't have the MVP point guard, but he is pretty darn good. Calderon is the forgotten point guard of the NBA. He is averaging 13.1 ppg, but more importantly, he is averaging 8.5 assists per game. That is what Marion will benefit from the most. Marion will be able to play around the basket, and finish plays. So after Marion gets over the fact that he is leaving the warmth of Miami, and traveling to the less than comfortable weather of Toronto, he will understand that Calderon will revitalize Marion's career. Marion is playing for a contract, and people were skeptical of his talent after watching his production in Miami. Rest assured, Marion will be thanking Calderon for bringing him back to his Phoenix prominence. Bosh is the Amare that Marion thrived on in Phoenix. Bosh will command the most attention, and it will allow Marion to be the roamer he loves to be. Throw in shooters like Jason Kapono, and a developing big man in Andrea Bargnani, and the Raptors might have something here. Granted, Toronto is currently not a playoff team, and Marion may or may not change that. This move, in the larger scheme of things, was Coangelo's move to help the Raptors become a playoff team this season. They have the pieces in place for that playoff run. If it doesn't work out, Marion leaves, and they have a large sum of money to spend in this offseason in hopes of keeping Bosh in 2010. On top of the finances, Jermaine was pretty ineffective this season except his average of 2 blocks a game. Marion will bring more scoring, defense, and toughness to the Raptors. In the end, it is going to help both Marion and the Raptors. Great move on Toronto's part. (Note: notice that Jamario Moon is guardig Marion in the picture above.)

I wish I could say the same for Miami. I'm very unsure of what Pat Riley was trying to accomplish with this move. The second O'Neal to grace Miami's roster is going to be nowhere near as effective as the previous O'Neal was. Jermaine O'Neal is one of the NBA's tragedies. He was the superstar that never was. I remember watching the historic 1996 NBA draft and remembered that some guy named Kobe Bryant was the youngest player ever drafted (13th), but then a guy named Jermaine O'Neal got taken at 17th. Jermaine played marginally at Portland early in his career, but he showed a lot of promise as his career went on. He put up some big numbers when he went to the Pacers, but the injury bug hit, and things went south forJermaine. He never fully recovered to his previous production. So here is a guy making the 4th highest amount of money in the league this year (even above Kobe) at $21.3 million, and is averaging 13.5 ppg, 7 rebs, and 2 blks in 41 games for Toronto. Now, that's a lot more court time than he has seen in his previous seasons with Indiana, but it still is not worthy of how much he is cashing in at the bank. When he was traded to Toronto, O'Neal was rejuvinated. He worked hard, and approached the game with a different attitude. The motivation was back. Well, the product of that motivation was the stats I just mentioned. Very underwhelming. So why did Miami want to take Jermaine O'Neal? I'm not sure. They dumped Marion's $17 million for the season, but still owe O'Neal about $22 million next season. I guess that is the key. The summer of 2010 is what this all comes down to. The Heat may be hoping to clear that cap room in order to lure Wade back, and potentially another big name player. Chris Bosh, anyone? So that part of the deal makes sense. It also gives Beasley a chance to develop at the SF position instead of the PF position. That is a plus. If Beasley improves at that position, the Heat could go after that big name PF like a Chris Bosh or Amare in 2010. It will also do some things for Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony, but those players are so sporadic, the impact of Jermaine O'Neal on their games is sort of unpredictable. I also think that Riley sees something in Jamario Moon. He is an NBA journeyman. A young player with a tremendous amount of talent, and I think that with the right moves, Erik Spoelstra's staff can tap that potential.

So lets think about the Heat's long term plan. If the Heat managed to keep Wade, sign a big name PF, Beasley develops to the player they hope he will be, and Chalmers continues his current path of development, this is a bright future for Miami. Miami fans should be able to live with that. Championship in Miami right now, not a chance. So look to the future. On face, this doesn't make sense for this season, but if you look at the numbers, the math turns out to work in the Heat's favor in the long run. Miami has no problem attracting big name players to the city. Although is is, in size, only the 42nd largest city in the country, it is one of the entertainment hubs of the world. I also don't think the weather and flash of South Beach hurt the case for Miami either.

So for Marion and O'Neal, instead of doing what NBA players do over All-Star Weekend, they will be making travel arrangements to go to their new cities. As for us, we hope this is the warmup to a very active trade season. Again, enjoy the weekend.

Izzy

1 comment:

Thomas Rooney said...

Excellent article, enjoyed it. Really like the site as well. Would you be able to email me when you get the chance?

Thanks a lot,

Thomas

ps. my email should be on my profile.