Why would an organization as savvy as the Phoenix Suns ever consider swapping a talent as prodigious as Shawn Marion for the underachieving AK-47? Perhaps, because as the East Valley Tribune’s Scott Bordow suggests, “Marion’s constant whining about being third in the pecking order is wearing on the Suns. They™re tired of hearing how he™s not respected when he™ll make the most money on the team this season ($16.4 million), he led Phoenix in minutes played last year and took 100 more shots than Steve Nash and 16 more Amare Stoudemire.”
It™s been suggested that the Suns want to trade Marion because they think he™ll opt out of his contract after this season and become a free agent, leaving them empty-handed. Actually, Phoenix isn™t worried about that at all. As good as Marion is, no team is going to give him a contract that starts at $17.8 million (his salary for the 2007-08 season). That kind of money is reserved for superstars. And for all of Marion™s talents, he™s a complementary player, not someone who can lead a team.
But there is concern among the Suns coaching staff and front office that Marion™s grousing will become even louder if Grant Hill gets some of his shots and publicity.
Already, Marion™s jealousy of Stoudemire threatens the chemistry in the locker room. A Slam magazine reporter recently asked Marion if he was watching Stoudemire in the FIBA Americas tournament in Las Vegas. œNope, Marion said. Then he sat there, silent, until the next question was asked.
As much of a pain as Marion can be sometimes, though, trading him for Kirilenko is a bad idea. Kirilenko may be younger (26) and taller (6-foot-9 to Marion™s 6-7), but he can™t touch Marion as a player. Kirilenko™s best season statistically was in 2003-04, when he averaged 16.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Marion™s numbers dipped last season because of Stoudemire™s return, but he still averaged 17.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per contest.
And if the Suns are worried about Marion™s attitude, why would they covet Kirilenko when he whined last season about his reduced role? If he wasn™t happy playing a supporting role to Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams, why would he be content taking a back seat to Nash, Stoudemire and Hill? A Suns source said Tuesday that while trade talks have been tabled for now, they might be reopened if Utah is willing to take on another contract, say, the $17.2 million still owed Marcus Banks.
Let™s hope the phone call is never made. Let™s hope Marion comes to his senses and understands he™s in the perfect situation, where his unique talents are showcased and his deficiencies hidden. Let™s hope the Suns aren™t so interested in dumping Banks that they weaken their team.