June 2007 - Posts

While some of the biggest names in the NBA have yet to change teams today, there have been a couple pretty significant trades.  Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O'Neal and Shawn Marion all stayed in place, as did Kobe Bryant, but Zach Randolph, Steve Francis, Jason Richardson and Ray Allen were moved on draft day.  There were a couple of minor trades that took place (for cash or late picks); I'm going to pass on mentioning those since you probably wouldn't care anyway.

Celtics Trade 5th Pick & Players to Sonics for All-Star Ray Allen
I'm not sure how Allen and Paul Pierce will get along in Boston, but together with Al Jefferson, Rajon Rondo and Gerald Green, things are looking up for the Celtics. 

The Sonics on the other hand, now have Kevin Durant (#2 pick) and Jeff Green (#5 pick) to start rebuilding their team.  With Allen now out of town, the Sonics will be pushing hard to re-sign forward Rashard Lewis before another convinces him to leave - he's rumored to be going to the Orlando Magic.  The Sonics also acquired Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West in the deal.

Trailblazers Trade Zach Randolph & Players to Knicks for Steve Francis & Channing Frye
This one is pretty significant, since it rids New York of a horrible contract for a player who's not performed to-date (Francis), and it gives them a low-post player to compliment Eddy Curry in the middle.  While the Knicks had to give up a good player in Frye, getting Randolph and Dan Dickau was definitely worth it.  New York should be right back in the playoffs with this move.  Also exchanged was Fred Jones (from Portland to NY).

Portland had a crowded frontcourt after drafting Greg Oden #1 earlier in the day, so the move was somewhat expected.  With reigning Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy and Lamarcus Aldridge developing quickly, Portland made the move to open up room for Oden to join these two as the core of the franchise.

Warriors Trade Jason Richardson & 36th Pick to Bobcats for Brandan Wright (#8 Pick)
This one is a little puzzling to me, although the Golden State backcourt was quite crowded w/ Monta Ellis, Matt Barnes and Baron Davis playing so well; Richardson was the odd-man out in this case.  The Warriors get a decent big man in the deal, which is something they really could've used in the playoffs against the gritty Jazz. 

The pick of Wright by Charlotte looked a little weird at first, since he was the 3rd North Carolina player drafted by Michael Jordan since he took over (can you say bias?).  The trade changes that and puts Richardson in a good spot w/ Emeka Okafor, Raymond Felton, Sean May and hopefully Gerald Wallace.  Wallace could leave as a free agent, which could be the reason for the trade.

Phoenix Suns

After trading away the 24th pick, the Suns have chosen forward Alando Tucker from the University of Wisconsin w/ the 29th pick of the 2007 NBA Draft.  The former Badger won the Big 10 Player of the Year award, and is the 2nd leading scorer in Wisconsin history... so the guy isn't a slouch by any means.

He averaged a career-high 19.9 points and added 5.4 rebounds per game this past season. Makes up for his lack of size with exceptional athleticism.

These stats are about equal to Shawn Marion's, but the NBA is different from college, so that's as far as I'll go w/ that comparison.  League experts are giving the Suns credit for picking up Tucker this late in the draft - many are comparing it to the Mavs selection of Josh Howard several years ago.

He's an extremely poor free-throw shooter at 63.6 percent for his career, and doesn't have much of an outside shot. Not big enough to be a forward in the NBA, and doesn't have enough of a perimeter game or the ballhandling skills to be consistently effective at guard, so teams may have trouble figuring out how he would fit. Doesn't seem to possess much range as a player other than his ability to score. His athleticism, though, should make him attractive to a team that could use help off the bench.

It's a little surprising that the Suns would draft someone who can't shoot from the outside, isn't big enough to battle in the paint, and is a poor free throw shooter.  I guess they figure the athleticism will allow him to be successful in the Phoenix run n' gun system.  Tucker will most certainly come off the bench and will be lucky to break into coach Mike D'Antoni's short 7-9 man rotation.  He should get some good looks throughout the season, but if he can't perform, he'll end up riding the bench just like Marcus Banks and Jalen Rose this year.

Posted by chowell
Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns elected not to choose a player for their own team w/ the 24th pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.  Instead, the Suns drafted Rudy Fernandez (from Spain) on behalf of the Portland Trailblazers, who paid cash for the pick.

Phoenix will reportedly receive about $3 million for the pick, which should help them pay the luxury tax if they elect to keep both Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudemire, which management has said they want to do.  The trade also means that Phoenix keeps a roster spot, something they would've otherwise lost by drafting a player.

Posted by chowell | with no comments
San Antonio Spurs   VS   Cleveland Cavaliers

NBA fans and oddsmakers alike picked the Spurs to win their 4th NBA Championship once their matchup w/ the Cleveland Cavaliers was set. While they weren't picked to win in 4 games by sportsbooks and online wagering sites, there was probably no money to make by betting on the San Antonio Spurs, because they were so clearly favored.

The Spurs were unrelenting in pursuit of the championsip - they wishstood everything the Cavs could throw at them.  The series was low-scoring and boring overall, but congrats to San Antonio for defying NBA betting pundits who annointed the Suns this year's champion before the playoffs really got going.

Lebron James was adequate during the Finals, but he committed several key (unforced) turnovers late in Game 4 that probably cost his team the game.  There was also a point with less than a minute left, where Cavs coach Mike Brown made a huge mistake - letting the Spurs rattle off about 20 seconds on the game clock instead of fouling.  While Cleveland was able to come back and make a close game of it, they must have gone to the locker room extremely disappointed and let down by the loss.

Tim Duncan had a horrible game offensively, but did enough on the boards and on defense to help the Spurs win the game.  Finals MVP Tony Parker was spectacular again, while leading the Spurs to the title.  Manu Ginobili also rebounded from a poor Game 3 with 20+ points and several key free throws down the stretch.

Updated 2/13/09

Shawn Marion Traded to Toronto Raptors
Nealry a year to the day that Phoenix made the Marion-Shaq trade w/ the Miami Heat, former Suns player(s) Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks were traded to the Toronto Raptors for Jermaine O'Neal and Jamario Moon.  Much like last year, the trade of Marion was preceeded by a lot of speculation and indications that he would be moved before the deadline.  It is almost comedic, but Banks was included on the deal w/ Marion AGAIN - this guy really needs to find a home & quit riding Marion...LOL.

The trade comes only 1 day after Shawn Marion had a game-winning dunk for the Heat against the Chicago Bulls last night.  After passing the ball in to Dwyane Wade, Marion cut to the basket, received a bounce pass from Wade and dunked it over/through 2 Bulls players... GAME OVER, Heat win!  It was a terrific play, made possible by the great pass from Wade.

As far as "value", I feel like the Raptors get the better end of the deal by acquiring Marion.  Miami gets an aged veteran who will be lucky to stay healthy and an athletic small forward who will make the highlight reel on occasion.  What Toronto gets and/or other observations:

  • An athletic guy who can play any position on the floor except point guard.
  • A guy who will hustle and be able to play 40+ minutes every night if needed.
  • A versatile defender who will help compliment Chris Bosh.
  • A fast break waiting to happen - Marion is lightning quick and will most certainly benefit from Jose Calderon's "Nash" like passing skills.
  • A great rebounder.
  • In Banks, the Raptors get a so-so point guard who might be able to play 10-15 min. per game.
  • Marion reunites w/ Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo, who left Phoenix several yrs ago.

Updated 2/8/08
It is official... the Suns have traded Shawn Marion to the Miami Heat for Shaquille O'Neal.

Original post
I don't like to put something up that's not true or that will never happen, but the Suns are likely to make a move this offseason and Shawn Marion is the player who's the most likely to be traded. I'll try to keep a running tally of all the Shawn Marion trade rumors here on this page.  Check back for additional rumors as the 2007-2008 season approaches.

Suns' Shawn Marion is prime trade-bait this summer, but will he be moved?
The Suns' Shawn Marion is a fan favorite and would be missed if Phoenix
decides to trade him.

Trade Request - 9/26/07
Sick of all the rumors, Shawn Marion asks the Suns to trade him.  He feels unwanted and the team has yet to talk to him about a contract extension, so he's ready to "move on".

Trade Rumor - 6/19/07
It seems the Boston Celtics are very interested in bringing Shawn Marion to Boston, so much so that they're working with other teams to try and create a package that will please Suns' management.  The latest rumors have the Celtics involving the Timberwolves in a 3-way trade involving Kevin Garnett and numerous draft pick exchanges and other players.

The Wolves send the 31-year-old all-star to the Phoenix Suns in a convoluted three-way deal with the Boston Celtics that includes Shawn Marion going to Boston and Minnesota getting the No. 5 pick from the Celtics, plus several young players. The Wolves already have the No. 7 overall pick in the June 28 draft. It's unclear, though, how Garnett's $22 million salary would match up for the deal.

The salaries don't matchup exactly and Minnesota would need a number of players and/or draft picks to make the deal work.  Garnett would end up in Phoenix w/ Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire, which isn't exactly the type of lineup you'd expect.  Garnett and STAT would likely both play PF and C at various points throughout the season.  The move would help shore up the defense a little bit - “A & G“ would certainly be an imposing force in the paint, along w/ Raja Bell on the perimeter.

Trade Rumor - 6/18/07
There are rumors swirling around that the Suns and Wizards are talking about a Antawn Jamison for Shawn Marion swap.  While Jamison is no doubt a good player, he's no Marion.  Jamison is a decent shooter and would help open the floor for the Suns, but his poor defense would make stopping other teams a whole lot more difficult, especially if Kurt Thomas is on his way out of Phoenix also.

Shawn Not Being Traded? 6/13/07
Suns coach Mike D'Antoni stated in an interview the past few days that the Suns are not looking to trade Shawn Marion.  Despite rumors that management has mandated a payroll reduction to avoid the luxury tax, it appears that may not be the case, as D'Antoni stated “That's not true..“ regarding the rumor.

“I don’t think Shawn is going anywhere,” coach Mike D’Antoni said.

“I hope he doesn’t; there’s no desire on our part. But the names that are floated are the guys who are good. Everybody calls about Shawn because he’s great.“

“Realistically, I don’t think so.“

What does appear more likely is that Phoenix will trade Kurt Thomas, which would also be a mistake.

D’Antoni didn’t reply to questions about Thomas, who is slated to make about $8 million in the final year of his deal.  The Suns could end up $9 million or so over the luxury-tax threshold if they don’t make a deal.

The Suns are really in a no-win situation unless they want to pay the luxury tax while attempting one last run at the championship.  An optimal trade would have the Suns part ways with Marcus Banks, draft pick and another bench player for a decent defender that can run the floor.

There are also rumors that Grant Hill may be considering the Suns for the 2007-2008 season.  If its true, he'd have to sign for one of the lower exceptions; but its not like he needs the money anyway.

Trade Rumor - 6/11/07
This one seems to the most likely at this point...

The Chicago Bulls are the team with the most talent to giveaway in order to get a superstar (yes, Marion is one) back in return.  Sixth man extraordinaire Ben Gordon is the player most mentioned in a trade deal w/ the Suns.  Shawn is the odd-man out in Phoenix, where Amare Stoudemire and Steve Nash demand the attention of the fans and the praise of everyone around the NBA. 

Despite Shawn's amazing abilities to average 18 points with no set plays, and his uncanny ability to guard anyone on the court (positions 1 thru 5), he's often looked over when talking about Phoenix Suns' players. 

The key for Phoenix probably would be Ben Gordon. He's in an uneasy position with the Bulls with a contract extension on the horizon and questions about whether he should start. And Phoenix has always liked Andres Nocioni, who could play the forward positions Marion played, make a shot and provide toughness.

Trading away Shawn Marion would make the Suns a lot smaller and take even more away from their attempt at being “defensive”.  I can't imagine Phoenix pulling off a deal where they don't get a SF, PF or Center in return.  They'll get smoked again by San Antonio next year if they get any smaller.

Trade Rumor - 6/11/07
The latest rumor is just stupid... in no way does this trade make Phoenix any better or allow them to compete w/ San Antonio in the playoffs next year.

Here’s your first decent Shawn Marion rumor of the summer: The Boston Globe quotes an unnamed NBA executive seeing the Suns and Celtics (general manager Danny Ainge loves The Matrix, whom he coached in Phoenix) as ripe partners.

Marion and one of Phoenix’s first-round picks (24th or 29th) would go for Boston’s fifth overall pick — something the Suns hoped to get in the lottery from Atlanta — forward Theo Ratliff (one year left at $11.7 million) and another young player (Delonte West, Tony Allen).

Last month, coach Mike D’Antoni said he couldn’t see a scenario where trading Marion made the Suns better. This deal won’t either, but it does wipe out those pesky luxury-tax headaches for the foreseeable future — if the priorities have changed.
Source: East Valley Tribune

Trade Rumor - 6/4/07
Both the Detroit Pistons and Phoenix Suns are realing from playoff disappointments.  Rasheed Wallace has likely played his last game as a Piston. 
The latest rumors involved Wallace and Amir Johnson being swapped for Marion.  Shawn has 2 years and $33.5 million on his contract, and would provide the Pistons a lengthy SF who could slow down Lebron James.  Wait, isn't that what Tayshaun Prince is suppose to do?

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Posted by chowell

Two big pieces of news outside of Phoenix today (or one from Memphis & one from Phoenix).  Both stories and changes to the Suns organization will affect the team almost immediately and for years to come.

  1. Suns assistant coach Mike Iavaroni accepts head coaching job w/ the Memphis Grizzlies.  This is a pretty big blow to Suns coach Mike D'Antoni's day-to-day team operations, as Iavaroni was his lead assistant.
  2. The Suns are set to hire current TNT analyst and part Suns team owner, Steve Kerr, as their next President & General Manager (GM) soon - it's still a rumor at this point.

Ok, so you might be thinking this is nothing...  Wrong.

While Phoenix may still be a solid team next year, they will seriously miss Iavaroni's 17 years of coaching experience and his relationship w/ the current core of players.  Another assistant may step right in and fill the spot, but it won't be at the same level as it was w/ Mike.

The bright side, hopefully, is that Kerr will be in charge of the team now.  He should do a fair job, although it will be tough to match the success of the Colangelo's.

To top it off, there were some rumors this week of a possible Kobe Bryant trade, but 99.9% of current Suns fans would've been upset had anything really transpired.  Kobe backed on his statement - trade rumors go away.

Posted by chowell | with no comments
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