Should he stay, or should he go? That is the question on the mind of star forward Shawn Marion after a season of surprise, disappointment, and a change of area codes.
The Matrix averaged 15.4 PPG and 11.2 RPG during the regular season, after being traded in the blockbuster deal that sent Shaquille O'Neal to Phoenix Suns and himself and Marcus Banks to the Miami Heat.
Marion has the option to opt out of his contract in the summer, and I have the feeling he will leave South Beach and join another club; like the Denver Nuggets.
Here are several key factors why Marion may leave the Heat
1. With the Chicago Bulls having the first pick in the draft, they will most likely select hometown hero Derrick Rose. The Heat don't seem interested in Michael Beasley and are heard to be inquring about trading down in hopes of drafting USC guard O.J. Mayo.
To the naked eye, this may sound like a good thing; O.J. Mayo, Wade, Marion, Haslem, Mark Blount. However, if you look closely, ther are several problems.
With Wade and Mayo on the same team, when will Shawn Marion receive his touches? Marion was unhappy in Phoenix because he felt uninvolved in the rotation stemming from lack of scoring oppurtunities and team chemistry, thus getting dealt to the Heat.
2. Miami's supporting cast has to be an issue. Aside from Dwyane Wade (who himself may never come back from his shoulder injury the same way), Miami posses no consistent scorers.
Shooting guard Ricky Davis managed to stay healthy and played in all 82 games, but only averaged 13.8 PPG on the season. Sadly, he only scored 20+ points in 16 out of 82 games, which is almost a fourth of the time.
Power forward Udonis Haslem missed 32 games last season with an injured ankle.
As of now Miami is in shambles at the center and point guard positions. Mark Blount is the only center on their roster that won't be a free agent this offseason. Earl Barron and Alonzo Mourning both are going to be available.
Jason Williams, the normal point guard is also free agent and won't be resigned, which means the unprepared Marcus Banks will be rushed into the role.
3. If the Heat decide to draft Michael Beasley, what happens to Shawn Marion in their rotation? Will Marion's minutes decline and get fed to Beasley or will Miami allow the potential juggernaut to sit on the bench and split time with Shawn?
The answer is simple: A rookie with Beasley's kind of talent will always play. The Matrix will once again be disgusted with his lack of play.
Why Should The Matrix Go To Denver?:
1. Imagine this:
Taurean Green, Allen Iverson ,Carmelo Anthony, Shawn Marion, Marcus Camby
That would be the Nuggets starting lineup if Marion were to sign with the Nuggets. Yes, Taurean Green is under-developed, but Denver can strengthen the position by aquring a point guard or through the 2008 NBA Draft.
2. If Shawn Marion were to join their ballclub, Allen Iverson would remain with the Nuggets.
I believe if they were to get far in the playoffs together, the two would agree to paycuts in the 2008-09 season to try to keep the team intact. Why would they do such a thing? Because as of today, neither have a championship ring.
3. Based on pure athlectism alone, who would be able to contain Denver? Only a handful of teams come to mind and only if Carmelo, Iverson, or Marion has a bad game. The Nuggets will gain versatility, leadership, and toughness from Shawn Marion, and the highly touted third scoring option.
The Nuggets are a few pieces away from becoming a great team and all are attainable this offseason. Adding Shawn Marion would be a huge leap towards respect in the Western Conference.