Follow the Sonics off and on the court with reporters Percy Allen and Jayda Evans.
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February 7, 2008 1:37 PM
Posted by Jayda Evans
Jayda Evans: Man, trade season is busting open all over the place. First Gasol, now Shaq is back in the West. What did you think of the Phoenix-Miami move?
Percy Allen: I love it. Absolutely love it. It's good for everybody. Good for Phoenix. Good for Shaq. Good for the NBA. And great for the fans. I'll share a quick story from today's press conference in Phoenix. Shaq is on stage sitting in between coach Mike D'Antoni and GM Steve Kerr. Shaq is cracking jokes from start to finish and playfully bantering with the media. The guy is hysterical and he had the place eating out of the palm of his hands. I turn to one of the old newshounds and ask: "Is this like when (Charles) Barkley) came to town?" He says: "It's better. Way better. Back then we had a Barkley beat. One guy assigned to cover Barkley and one guy who covered the team. We'll have to do it all over again."
Evans: I agree. Shaq just has that personality, like when he told one reporter he already knew he looked good in purple. Too cute. But on the court, this is really going to shake up the Western Conference. I may even have to go back on my earlier pick for the NBA Finals. I was thinking the Gasol trade could put the Lakers there, but now the Suns look good. Some say Shaq is too slow for that system, but remember Kurt Thomas was a huge success in it last year. And Steve Nash told me the team missed KT more than they expected. This move will invigorate Shaq and should finally get the Suns to the next level.
Allen: Whoa. Slow down. I love the trade, but let's not get crazy. Next level? When you say next level for the Suns that can only mean the NBA Finals, which is a place they haven't been since Barkley carried them there in '93. Shaq gives the Suns a player they've never had before. He's big. He's playoff tested and he can play defense when he wants to. Still, you just can't throw star players together in the middle of the season and expect them to gel immediately. Denver comes to mind. It's working well in Boston, but they had a training camp to get to know each other. And let's remember, Shaq isn't one who loves to practice. Steve Nash will be pivotal during this process, but even if the Suns improve at warp speed, I'd still pick a veteran group like San Antonio or even Dallas to beat Phoenix in a seven-game series.
Evans: I said EARLY pick. They haven't even practiced together. Clearly Kerr is making moves to advance to the Finals because it hasn't worked the past three seasons. Shaq knows he's on his last run and everyone knows when he can see another ring as a possibility, he goes all out. He'll blend in Phoenix just like he made it work in Miami and LA. So, there's an EARLY chance the Suns will be there. I don't think Dallas beats Phoenix in a seven-game series and there are still questions about Parker in San Antonio. Even if it isn't the Suns, I think Utah and LA have solid chances to get there. Picking San Antonio is just playing it safe.
Allen: What's early? It's Feb. 7. We're past the midpoint of the season. There is no early anymore more. Quit hedging. If you like Phoenix then say so. Like I said, I love the move, but I don't think it's going to deliver the Suns a title this season. In-season moves like this rarely work. Of course, there are exceptions. Detroit picked up Rasheed Wallace and won a title and Houston did the same thing with Clyde Drexler. I think you're being a prisoner of the moment and perhaps caught up in the excitement. I picked the Spurs at the beginning of the season and I'm not changing now. I wish I were wrong. Believe me. I'd love to see a LA-Boston Finals for you old heads or even a Phoenix-Boston Finals for you older heads. And I know ABC wants those matchups. But there's something about the Spurs. They're old, but they get younger as the playoffs approach, if you know what I mean.
Evans: Ahem, last I checked the All-Star game hasn't even been played, so it's still early. And you made my point by mentioning Detroit. A lot can happen before the postseason and I wouldn't put my money on any team that made a move like this without seeing them first play a game. There is something about the Spurs. It's called a case full of trophies. Easy pick. But all of these moves say these bridesmaids are trying to make a push now and I think one is going to work. Let's enjoy the developments. Until next time. Peace.
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