How Marcin Gortat Could Be the Key to the Shaquille O'Neal Deal for the Suns

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How Marcin Gortat Could Be the Key to the Shaquille O'Neal Deal for the Suns
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

The Shaquille O'Neal to the Cleveland Cavaliers trade has been broken down to kingdom come.  I have written about it twice:

Here:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/199667-phoenix-suns-other-options-for-shaq

And here:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/174587-shaquille-oneal-where-will-the-next-act-be

Other writers have written about it being bad:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/199336-why-shaq-to-cleveland-is-a-bad-idea

Others good:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/200564-the-great-shaq-rental-cavs-looking-to-improve-in-big-way

So I will not be doing another breakdown of the trade. In fact, I will act as if the trade has actually gone down already.

If/when the Suns and Cavaliers do pull the trigger on the proposed deal, the Suns will be buying out both Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic.

This will free up about $10 million in cap space for the Suns. So why would the Suns make a move that has no basketball value coming back to them?

Well, speculation is now coming out that they would use the money to go after Marcin Gortat. 

Now I have only heard this talked about on local radio stations, but it would make sense. They will have a hole at the center position, and I don't think they are comfortable with the idea of Robin Lopez being the only center on the roster.

As a fan, I am not sure I would want to go spend $8-10 million on a role player who has never played significant minutes night in and night out. That being said, he would be an upgrade over what they already have on the roster.

Gortat is a very nice defensive player, with a average to above average offensive game. He is athletic and has a good basketball IQ. So he would be a good player, no doubt.

That can only happen if Ben Wallace is willing to agree to a buyout. But, what if Wallace wants to continue to play for one more year?

Glad you asked. If Wallace was going to play for any team for one more year, and this goes for almost all players who have injury concerns, it should be the Phoenix Suns.

I don't say this because they are a great team or have a some type of wonderful basketball history. I say this because the Suns training staff's track record is the best in the league.

Look at the success stories for the staff:

Steve Nash

Grant Hill

Shaquille O'Neal

Amar'e Stoudemire coming off of micro-fracture surgery.

If Ben Wallace wanted one more year to prove that he still has it, the Suns would probably be the best place for him to go. He could work closely with the training staff, get some of his lateral movement and quickness back, and be a nice defensive presence on the inside.

The problem, then, is: The Suns will only have about $4-5 million to work with. Who could they sign?

As has been reported very well around the Web site, there are not a lot of options out there. I would say if Wallace decides to not be bought out, they would go after two players, with the idea of trading Jason Richardson during the season.

Trevor Ariza would be a nice fit, and would only cost about $8 million a year. Why would he sign with the Suns?

I don't know if he would, but the Suns would be able to offer more money, hypothetically speaking. The Lakers are in a financial bind, and have two main components that they need to re-sign in Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza.

So if you are the Suns, you take advantage of this and make Ariza an offer ASAP. A lot of teams will be interested in Ariza, and he will command a lot of attention on the open market.

Dahntay Jones will also be available. He will come with a cheaper price tag, but bring the toughness, no matter what Lakers fans say, and a defensive presence they have not had since Raja Bell was first signed.

The Suns are at a pivotal time in their existence. Making the wrong decision could hinder the team going forward.

That being said, I am hoping the Suns do not make a move to trade Shaq to the Cavs solely for salary cap reasons, and make a move to help them on the basketball court.

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