Heat-Raptors Deal: (Maybe) Good for Both Sides

Unclench that agony, sort of. We have a trade, and while it doesn't involve any current All-Stars, it could dramatically alter two teams immediate, and long-term, futures. The Shawn Marion for Jermaine O'Neal rumor has been around for a minute, though maybe not specifically with the Raptors including Jamario Moon and the Heat dumping Marcus Banks. ↵
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↵It's hard to get too excited about this deal, except on a hypothetical level. Neither Marion or O'Neal were working on their new teams, although at least JO had put up some impressive numbers at times. But the Heat needed a center and have too many power forwards, the Bosh/O'Neal tandem wasn't working, and Toronto needed to do something to keep Chris Bosh engaged. ↵

↵If Marion and O'Neal are still actually any good, and weren't just stunted by context, Toronto could get a defensive and rebounding presence that might speed the team up, rather than slow it down. With the Matrix joining Bosh and Bargnani up front, you could be looking at one of the more fascinating, if not productive, frontcourts in the league. ↵

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↵Meanwhile, the Heat have one less PF, which gives them some room to develop Beasley, while the center position gets a major upgrade from Joel Anthony -- even if O'Neal is only so-so. At least he fits. ↵
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↵That said, this means Bosh isn't on the move, and the Heat have fallen back on the most conservative, and likely, option available. So no Amare/Wade pairing, at least for now. Worth noting, too, that Marion's contract is up this summer, and O'Neal's in 2010. So who knows how much of a motivation, or distraction, that will provide. These could both feel very soon like Iverson-style rentals, especially if everything doesn't come together right away. And who knows, Bosh still could see greener pastures in two summers, and the Heat could most definitely be in the running for big names in 2010, if nothing else because of location. Not exactly win-win, but a better position than either team was in before. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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