Marion Wants Out
The summer of trade demands continues, with Shawn Marion adding his name to the list of all-star caliber players (Kobe Bryant, Jermaine O'Neal, Andrei Kirilenko) who have asked out since the season ended.
Marion voiced his displeasure with the Phoenix Suns organization in interviews with the Arizona Republic and The Sporting News, and mentioned that he'd like to be dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers so that he can team with Bryant.
I think the Suns and Lakers should do it. The Lakers need to do something to appease Bryant somehow and they really need to move Lamar Odom, who I think will excel away from Los Angeles (when you think about all of Odom's struggles with the Clippers early in his career, and how his best season in the NBA was his lone season in Miami, you realize that this guy really needs a change of city, not just scenery).
But more important, Marion was correct when he compared his relationship with the Suns as "a bad marriage."
If you ask Marion, he will tell you how underrated he is, how he doesn't get the love he deserves, how Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire get too much credit and he doesn't get enough for the Suns winning the Pacific Division the past three seasons (He campaigned for the MVP when Nash won his second award in 2006). He has a valid argument. He's averaged 18.6 points and 10 rebounds throughout his career, made four all-star teams. And, during the season in which Stoudemire missed all but three games and Nash won his second MVP, he averaged career-highs of 21.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2 steals. Those are Kevin Garnett-like numbers - from a 6-foot-7 power forward.
People tend to forget that Marion was an all-star before Nash came to town, and was able to put up big numbers playing alongside Stephon Marbury (no easy task). He's an excellent defender and is a much better scorer and rebounder than Kirilenko. He can be productive without the ball in his hands, which actually works to his detriment in the eyes of some because Marion - b.k.a. The Matrix - is viewed as a great complimentary player, but certainly not a franchise guy.
But Marion's shameless self promotion, occasional playoff disappearing acts, insecurities and the petty jealousy of Stoudemire, which was covered in Jack MacCallum's book on the Suns, "Seven Seconds or Less," have obviously grated the brass in Phoenix.
He has been mentioned in trade rumors the past two off-seasons, and the Suns tried with all their might to push him on the Boston Celtics to get Garnett, but fortunately for the Celtics, Marion and his handlers quashed the deal by threatening to opt out of his contract next summer. Now Garnett is in Boston and the Suns have a seriously disgruntled four-time all-star forward. And rightfully so. "I'm tired of hearing my name in trades," he told the Arizona Republic. "It's time to move on."
Marion is also upset that the Suns haven't offered him a contract extension (Marion reportedly asked for $60 million over three years).
Marion added that he'd like to stay in Phoenix for his entire career, but those days are all but done - especially after Allen Iverson and Garnett were dealt in the past 10 months.
Bryant leads the league with the longest tenure (11 seasons) with the same team, followed by Tim Duncan (10), Paul Pierce and Dirk Nowitzki (9). You know what's crazy - Marion and Kirilenko are the only players from the 1999 draft class who remain with the teams that drafted them.
No player from the terrible draft class of 2000 is with the team that drafted him. The class of 1999 might be next.
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