One other bit on the Shaq trade:
Before the season started, the Suns clearly were in a penny-conscious mode, so penny-conscious they traded away Kurt Thomas and two first-round picks in exchange for the trade exception the Sonics had acquired from Orlando in the Rashard Lewis deal.
Why do I bring this up? Because the Suns just acquired Shaquille O'Neal, who is due $20 million a year for three years, when they already had Kurt Thomas, whose $8 million per season deal ends this June. Thomas is the same guy who is a better defensive rebounder than Shaq, who commits fewer turnovers, and who is just as effective on defense.
Really, the only advantages of Shaq over Thomas are 1) Shaq's superior scoring ability in the paint and 2) Shaq's ability to block shots.
But that's it. The Suns are going to be paying $52 million more than they had to just for a few extra blocks and a couple of dunks. Oh, and they had to give up one of the premier talents in the league (Shawn Marion) for the right to overpay Shaq for three seasons.
Obviously, hindsight is 20/20 and if Steve Kerr had known that Thomas would have held up physically, maybe he wouldn't have made the deal. Maybe. But I'm curious: Considering that Thomas' deal expires this summer, isn't it possible that the Suns could have gotten alot more for Thomas and Marion in a deal than Shaquille O'Neal. Like, oh, I don't know, Jermaine O'Neal? Or Kevin Garnett?
Maybe we'll all look foolish when June rolls around and Shaq averages 20/10 in the playoffs, but it seems to me that Steve Kerr could be looking for employment in a year or two when Shaq plays fewer than 40 games, Steve Nash's injuries begin to mount, and the Suns become Amare & The Gang.
Sure makes those two picks the Sonics got look awful attractive, though, huh?