ESPN is reporting that the Heat have dealt Shawn Marion, as has been widely expected, but not in a rumored - Amare Stoudamire deal. Instead, they send him, along with Marcus Banks (and his 2.6 ppg), to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Jermaine O'Neal (yes!) and Jamario Moon (double yes!). The deal is "pending league approval," which is code for "Stern making sure it doesn't affect his original plan for the Finals."
So, with that most likely to be formally announced later today, let's look at the pieces of the deal.
Toronto Gets - Shawn Marion, F. Marcus Banks, PG.
- Marion and Banks were the two pieces we received in the Shaq trade last season. So, for all intents and purposes, we just traded Shaq again.
- Banks, who played sparingly in Phoenix, has played sparingly with Miami. His minutes were given to the Mighty Chris Quinn, and Banks rarely found himself on the floor in any meaningful minutes. Good move dumping his contract.
- Marion's $17mil deal comes off the books this year, so this is likely a salary cap move for Toronto, but also gives them a bit more athleticism to go alongside Bosh, Calderon, and some shooters.
Miami Gets - Jermaine O'Neal, C. Jamario Moon, F.
- O'Neal IMMEDIATELY steps in to fill the gaping hole at center for the Heat. He gives us a defensive presence inside, a big rebounder, and a scoring option from the low post, something Magloire and Joel Anthony could not.
- JO fits the team nicely, and while he carries a big, $21mil a pop contract, it comes off right before the "Crazy Free Agent Summer of 2010," when we can use the money to max out Wade and possibly draw another stud young player.
- O'Neal is only 30 years old, so he still has some good years ahead of him, as long as he avoids the injuries that have plagued him recently.
- Moon is a tremendous athlete, and at 6'8, he adds some more height to our vertically challenged forward position. He's a long, lanky guy who can rebound, plays pesky defense, and can run the floor and finish. All the things Marion did well, but with the ability to create his own shot, and score with a jumper.
- He's only 28, and has bounced around various different countries and leagues before finding a home with the Raptors last year. His contract is miniscule, and he likely won't be looking for huge money because he's more than grateful to be in the league.
IMO, it's a GREAT move by Riley and the Heat. We get the center that we desperately needed, along with a good up-and-coming wingman to step right into Marion's role, and all we gave up was Marion and an "I can't get on the floor" Point Guard. From the looks of it, if Moon can do all the Marion-esque things, we dealt Marcus Banks, our 3rd string PG, for Jermaine O'Neal, our new starting C. Riley wins.