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Barring a failed physical, the Phoenix Suns and the Miami Heat are about to consummate a trade that would send Shaquille O’Neal to Phoenix for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. Apparently, all three parties wanted out of their current situations and from that standpoint, the trade makes some sense, but that’s the only instance.

Shaq

Yes, Shaq brings instant credibility to a team because of his name alone, but I don’t recall Phoenix needing an identity adjustment… or a center that spends more time on the injury list than he does on the floor, especially since the Heat’s championship run. While the addition of Marion gives the Heat another weapon to use with Dwayne Wade and probably gives them few more wins for the season (something the Heat desperately need), but it doesn’t make them a playoff threat, especially not this year.

As for the Suns, they say they want Shaq to give them a defensive presence in the paint, but that’s never really been O’Neal’s claim to fame. No, this seems like nothing more than a swap of disgruntled players. If it works and Phoenix makes a run to the championship, fine. If not, they are no longer stuck with an unhappy (but damn productive) Shawn Marion.

In fact, the Shaq trade brings up more questions than answers. Can he keep up with their break-neck pace? Will he be healthy enough to even make the slightest difference? Of course, I’m not the only one who thinks this way. Over at Bright Side of the Sun, TexSUN relays a similar list of concerns:

It wasn’t so long ago that I re-watched a game from the 2005-06 playoffs. That season, the Suns seemed to be playing with a joy and a passion that made you think they’d play for free if it meant keeping their season going just a little bit longer. They looked like they were having a blast on the court, like there was no place in life they’d rather be than playing with and for each other. Perhaps it was all just an Oscar-caliber acting job, but it made them irresistibly fun to watch. Cut to two years later, and more often than not, the Suns look like the regular season has become “just a job” (or maybe it only seems that way because we fans are spoiled).

We’ve seen glimpses of the heart and resilience that made the 2005-06 squad so special, but it is no longer their defining characteristic. There have been times this season when the Suns have looked like nobody could beat them if they were playing at their best, but there have also been far too many times when the Suns have had the look of a team in need of a change. And not just a little change. An all-out shakeup that would alter the very nature of who and what they are. Change happens. Change is good. It keeps teams from becoming stagnant, and fans from becoming bored. But it has to be a good change.

For the life of me, I can’t see how this change benefits the Suns or Marion either for that matter, other than there being less competition for an All-Star spot in the East. How the heck is Shaq supposed to fit into Mike D’Antoni’s system? Or would there even be a Mike D’Antoni’s system anymore?

So, was this move made to improve the two teams or was it simply to get rid of those who didn’t want to be in their previous situation? Time will most certainly tell.