In the first deadline deal of the 2008-09 NBA season, the Miami Heat sent forward Shawn Marion, guard Marcus Banks and cash considerations to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for center Jermaine O'Neal, forward Jamario Moon and a conditional first-round draft pick. The deal was completed Friday, although it had been discussed for more than a month.
The Heat were anxious to get rid of Marion's expiring $17.8 million contract, which spurred the talks sending the former All-Star elsewhere.
Jermaine O'Neal complained from the moment he arrived in Toronto about not fitting the Toronto "style of play." Going to Miami should be exactly what he wants.
Miami scores big in terms of down-low players in this deal. O'Neal will be the first star-caliber post man that Miami has had since Shaquille O'Neal was in Miami. Dwyane Wade will have a body in the post that can take some of the scoring pressure off of him, as Jermaine excels on the offensive end.
"It gives us some power down low, which since Shaq left, we've been missing," Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. "We really need that to compete in the Eastern Conference. Our main thing is we need to get it together fast. Making a trade at this time sometimes makes it tough on teams to get everybody on the same page. Hopefully, we can."
But the deal is also good for Toronto in that they receive a defensive player who is also capable of slashing to the basket in Marion. He should fit well with Calderon running the floor. It will also allow Andrea Bargnani to spot up for more jumpers. Toronto's style of play wouldn't exactly be classified as a "uptempo", but they can get out on the break.
"They're getting a great, great player in Shawn," Heat GM Pat Riley said.
Banks is a salary dump on Miami's part. Moon was the piece in this deal that got Miami motivated.
The Raptors receive cash considerations in this deal, and Miami has received a conditional first-rounder sometime between 2010-2015. The pick is lottery-protected, meaning the first time that the Raptors make the Playoffs after this year, their first-rounder will go to Miami. The Heat also received 4.2 million in trade exception, which will be vital cap room.
Though O'Neal and Marion's All-Star days are over, hopefully these teams can keep them and really have them thrive.
Though most of the focus is on O'Neal and Marion, the x-factor here is Jamario Moon. He's a high-energy, former Globetrotter who can run the floor, shoot the mid-range shot and occasionally take it all the way for a powerful dunk.
"Jamario Moon is really under the radar as far as what he can do," Wade said.
Imagine a lineup of O'Neal, potential ROY Michael Beasley, Moon, Wade and solid first-year floor general Mario Chalmers. That five, with an ever-improving bench, can make some noise in the strong Eastern Conference this year.