It’s a rarity in the NBA that you see a trade really work out for both teams, but after more than 72 hours of "lengthy analysis," I still think that Moon and O’Neal for Marion is a win-win for both the Raptors and the Heat.
We will begin by looking at it from Toronto’s side.
I urge you to remember that Brian Colangelo, one of the architects of the Phoenix run-and-gun, is pulling the trigger on these deals. You may be wondering what this has to do with anything. Well, bear with me folks.
Jermaine O’Neal was the only member of the Raptors that even came close to representing a true center. His departure is going to allow this offense to become a much quicker run-and-gun team.
You could tell that this was Colangelo’s idea from the start. They signed Jose Calderon long-term to play the Steve Nash role, and Bargnani is going to be the center capable of handling and shooting that is absolutely treasured in this type of offense. Because of this, getting rid of Moon simply opened up space in the offense to insert more capable players.
Enter Shawn Marion, the king swing-man of this system.
A frontcourt of Marion, Bosh, and Bargnani is going to be incredibly dynamic, but most importantly insanely fast and capable of nearly everything offensively. This move should also see increased minutes for Jason Kapono, who, in an offense like this, creates an immediate three-point threat off of the penetrate and kick.
Despite being more than 10 games under .500, all it takes in the Eastern Conference is a nice 7-10 game swing, and the Raptors can find themselves right in the thick of things. But even if it’s not this year, they have left themselves in a good position to try to convince Marion and Bosh that Toronto could be their brightest future.
Miami’s side of the trade is a little different.
Despite solid play from Shawn Marion this has been Team Wade, and historically Wade performs better with a competent big man. Even Lamar Odom playing big brought out the best in Wade.
O’Neal is the first serious post player to be in Miami since Shaq’s departure. Yes, we must see how his knee holds up before we can make our final judgment, but it seems as if the Heat have two backup plans in case this goes wrong.
For starters, Moon can play. And while he may not be as athletic as Marion, he should be a nice complement to Wade. But the big winner in this trade is Michael Beasley, who is going to see increased touches. This will without question be Beasley’s test period. And backup plan No. 2 supports this notion.
Call Pat Riley whatever you want (seriously, I hate the man), but he has put his team in the most financially unique position I have ever seen. Jermaine O’Neal’s $20 million comes off the books in the coveted 2010 free agent year. And every other player besides Wade is signed through 2010 on a team option.
In layman’s terms, the Miami Heat can literally do whatever they want in the summer of 2010. They have now eclipsed the Knicks in terms of 2010 buying power, and as a matter of fact it’s not even close. I don’t think this will happen, but potentially (and for argument’s sake), the 2010 Miami Heat may not have a single current Heat player on the roster.
As far as management goes, this is absolutely brilliant. Miami is currently a playoff team, with a solid rookie and a standout franchise player. They now have the ability to add to this exponentially, or if they see fit, flip the detonator switch and blow the whole project to smithereens in 2010. If you talk about a driver's seat, I don’t think there is any one better than this.
So for a series of different reasons, the trade works perfectly for both teams. The Miami Heat and the Toronto Raptors: building for a better tomorrow.
Oy vey, did I just say that?