Thursday, February 07, 2008

Better Deal: Heat or Suns?

Phoenix Suns coach Mike D'Antoni was interviewed via phone on the Mike & Mile show for ESPN2. The Phoenix head coach spoke about the excitement of now having Shaq in their system and the doubts over Shaq's ability to play well at his current age. He stated Shaq will definitely be of help and he is anxious to play along with Nash, Stoudamire, Raja bell and others. The lingering question seems to be over Shaq's ability to contribute.

Shaq's averaged 19.6 and 9.1 boards from 2004 to present with the Heat, which are almost 10 points and 2 rebounds below his averages with LA and Orlando. Other notable centers like Hakeem, Alonzo and Dikembe continued to move from team to team late in their career. Mourning even achieved a title (in Shaq's shadow).

The question remains who got the better deal here, Phoenix or Miami? Miami is clearly going into rebuild mode. It's hard to argue that Shawn Marion and D-Wade will be able to turn this into a title team. So most likely, D-Wade is gone from Miami as soon as he gets the chance. That means Miami is not going to be a title winner. Speculations have said Wade may head to the Chicago Bulls in a year.

The Suns on the other hand have added one of the all-time best Centers in the game to their lineup. Regardless of age and physical ability, he's still a solid contributor and imposing force. To think this doesn't add at least a little to the Suns' chances against San Antonio and Dallas is crazy, because the thing lacking against those teams was inside presence. Shaq adds that easily. While Marion is a tremendous player who does it all, it's still hard to say bringing him to Miami puts them into "contender status" again.

So expect Phoenix to have a better shot at competing with the likes of the Spurs, Mavs, Lakers and rest of the West. Once again, the West may continue to be, the best.

The trade deadline is February 21st, so other names may be on the move including the likes of Jason Kidd and Ron Artest.

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