It is now official, Shaquille O’Neal has been
dumped traded to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. I think we all, more or less, agree that this is a horrible trade for the Suns, trading the better, younger player on a team with the best record in the Western Conference for an older, worse player who, as a kicker, is not just injury prone, but currently injured.
What I wonder, though, is this such a bad trade that it is even worse than any Isiah trade?
First off, let’s just say, for the sake of discussion, that Francis and Jalen Rose were both “Larry Brown” trades, because I think the Francis trade is a worse trade than this one, and the Rose one might have been worse, too. So it is not a fun discussion if we count them, so let’s not. Instead, just using his other trades, is this such a bad trade that it is worse than either the Curry or Randolph trades?
In fairness to the Suns, I think we should stipulate to the following – the Suns, for whatever reason, felt that they had to trade Shawn Marion. That may or may not be true, but it is basically the only way I can somewhat understand this trade, so so let’s stipulate to that.
So it’s the Suns feeling they have to trade Marion versus:
There are a few other trades in there that really don’t merit much discussion (the Mo Taylor deal, the Nichols’ deal, etc.)
It’s definitely worse than the Van Horn trade, as well as the Mohammed deal. The first one worked out pretty well, really, and the second got them a draft pick that turned into their best player.
I think the Crawford deal is also fairly defensible (even though it has not turned out that well, as Crawford is way overpaid).
I did not like the Kurt Thomas trade, but it was a reasonable enough deal. No one was stunned by that one, the way they are with this trade (like John Hollinger thinking it was an April Fool’s prank).
I think it is worse than the Randolph trade, which was a really bad trade, simply because the Knicks were basically in dump mode on Francis, so even if they end up dumping Randolph for garbage in the future (which I am hoping happens), it will not be a bad return for a player the Knicks were trying to dump themselves. Here, the team doing the dumping got the much better player!!!
In my mind, it leaves the Curry deal, and as much as it pains me to say this, I think this deal is worse than the Curry one. I think trades should really be based on what the traders knew at the time, not by subsequent events. So while it was quite foolish for Isiah Thomas not to protect his draft picks through the Top Three, John Paxson would not have accepted the pick if it was lottery-protected (according to Paxson), so Isiah’s crime here is not protecting it for top five/top three/whatever, and while it was definitely a poor decision on Thomas’ part, I think it also is explicable that Thomas did not think there was even a 10% chance of the Knicks finishing with the second worst record in the NBA that season. That is a dumb decision, but one that I can explain.
The Suns trade, on the other hand, works only if inexplicable things happen, such as Shaq suddenly getting healthy and into shape out of nowhere at 35 years old. That might very well occur, but Steve Kerr could not know that when he made the deal, so I cannot credit him for that if it does, in fact, occur.
The Curry trade was also bad because Michael Sweetney appeared to be as good, if not better, than Curry, as well, even before the draft picks got involved, but the disparity is not near the disparity between Marion and O’Neal.
So, yeah, I think this trade is worse than Isiah’s trades – which is certainly saying something, no?