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.