Shaq has been traded.
For Shawn Marion. (and Marcus Banks)
Yahoo Sports. ESPN. Miami Herald. Not directly confirmed YET, but way too many sources on this one. Shaq goes to the SUNS for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks.
For the Heat, it makes great sense. Shaq has underperformed when he's played at all, and at 9-37 it's not like losing him can make us much WORSE. Marion is a great compliment to Wade, and Banks might be a diamond in the rough at PG. The Heat get out of Shaq's 2 years and $40 million left. The Heat can get even more money free for 2009 if Marion gives up his $17 million in 2009 to opt out. Or the Heat can re-sign Marion, a nice piece. 2009 is suddenly shaping up quite well with possibly Wade, Marion, Haslem, money to play with and a lottery draft pick.
For the Suns, it makes no sense at all. The large and ever-more plodding Shaq gets sent to an NBA team FAMOUS for running it up. The Suns actually increase their payroll to bring an aging and slowing Shaq on board, and deal what was thought to be an undealable chip in Marion.
Verdict: Ladies and gentleman, Pat Riley! Give him a big hand. He flat out ROBBED the Suns, even if Marion is a 3 month rental. He dumped Shaq's massive contract off and got Shawn Marion in the deal. Shaq may reviatalize on a better team. He may be just what the Suns need, and they finally win a ring. I hope they do, the Suns now instantly become my favorite in the West. But, long term, this deal easily favors the Heat.
Shaq, thanks for bringing the Heat something we fans thought we'd never see...an NBA title. It was almost entirely because of you, and we're forever grateful. And thanks for being willing and gracious about a trade to help us out. Go win a ring, and then come back and be the 3rd guy to have your number retired in Miami (Michael Jordan, and after this year almost surely Alonzo Mourning).