Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Putting Shaq's millions to use? I don't know 

Shaq's $100m deal is still ginormous, but also a paycut (I know, it's hard to fathom). But instead of making $125m as before, O'Neal is taking less in the hopes that the Heat will be able to put more talent around him. No sooner does he sign his deal, then this mammoth trade occurs. My brain hurts just reading about this trade - the biggest in NBA history. 5 teams. 13 players.

The jist is that Miami got a lot more dangerous, adding Antoine Walker, Jason Williams, and James Posey. The only player of note they depart with is Eddie Jones who is going to Memphis.

There's no denying that the talent is there, but a couple things:

1. Antoine flamed out in Dallas because he was playing a supplemental role -- 3rd, 4th, 5th option -- much like he'll be expected to do in Miami where he'll be 3rd banana at best. His ego has no end. It remains to be seen whether he can adapt.

2. JWill has a predisposition to try and score. He has a reputation as being wreckless. JWill + Pat Riley bootcamp could equal fireworks (and not the good kind).

3. If the Heat don't resign Damon Jones, they lose the 3 point threat. Williams was a lousy 31% from 3 last year. I am not convinced that he is the right backcourt compliment to Wade.

Again, it looks good on the surface, but this is a big experiment and Miami may have blown up a contending team when they only needed to add one piece. We shall see. They're prohibitive favorites now (Shaq and Wade will do that for you), but until I see them gelling as a unit, I'm not ready just yet to hand them the Eastern Conference over Detroit and Indiana. Just so you know I'm not full of it, one of the NBA's best columnists/insiders backs me up. I've got a sneaking suspicion that this is all going to blow up in Shaq's, Riley's, and Miami's face. They got talented players, but they look like the wrong ones for the team.

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