NBA - Shawn Marion Doesn't Fit in Toronto

(credit: Rudy E. Escoto)

Should Dallas sign him?

The Dallas Mavericks made headlines by retaining Jason Kidd with a three year deal worth $25 million. Now they’re making even more moves by going after Toronto’s prized Shawn Marion who will likely be moved since Toronto signed Hedo Turkoglu with all the cap-money they had left. Marion showed gusto after leaving Miami, putting up 14 points and hauling down 8 boards in 27 games for Toronto late last year.

The Raptors fans have been buzzing about Marion, since he showed tremendous synergy with Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani late last season. But the signing of Turkoglu has jeopardized the hope of bringing Marion back. Dan Fegan, Marion’s agent, has had extensive talks about moving Marion to Dallas in a sign-and-trade, and Toronto’s GM Bryan Colangelo has made it clear that he will accommodate Marion as best as he can, as long as it fits in to the Raptors’ short-term plans. Colangelo drafted Marion to the Phoenix Suns in 1999.

With Dallas you have to wonder what the heck Mark Cuban is thinking. Put the pieces together in Dallas and question whether this is a championship underdog team at all: Dirk Nowitzki’s lack of leadership coupled with Jason Kidd’s age, Josh Howard’s ever-improving game, Eric Dampier’s lack of man tackle and Jason Terry’s aging knees make this team more like a longshot. Add Marion’s 15 points per and his 7 rebounds per to the mix and do you have a championship team?

Not with that roster. Not even close.

Dallas refuses to rebuild from the inside, instead opting to ship in aging free-agents that are over-the-hill or approaching the crest of that hill. Marion is certainly a great talent, and showed flashes of his old self in Toronto. Saying that he would be rejuvenated in Dallas is like saying Kidd would’ve been rejuvenated in New York. It’s just not going to happen because aging is absolute - it's not related to your geographical location.

If Marion is moved to Dallas in exchange for Jerry Stackhouse, then it would be the final piece of a team that looks less like a championship contender and more like a wobbly tower of Jenga pieces. Dallas is +4000 (40/1) to win the 2010 NBA title, so you can tell exactly how our oddsmakers feel about this team. The Miami Heat have the same odds.

For Toronto, the trade makes financial sense, though it’s a shame for a team like Toronto to lose Marion who thrived in the run-and-gun style of Toronto and flourished alongside Bosh and Bargnani. But bringing in Jerry Stackhouse, who is only guaranteed $2 million of his $7 million contract next season, would make him an attractive buyout option for the Raps, who could do so up to August 10th.

Both teams are searching for a third team to facilitate the trade, and Toronto needs both draft picks and bench players to bolster their team. Colangelo knows that Toronto can’t be competitive in the heated Eastern Conference, so banking draft picks for the future is his best bet. Saving money so that the Raptors can walk out of the Summer of 2010 alive is also crucial.

For now, we sit and wait, but the Marion saga unfolding in Dallas is little more than a minor upgrade for a team clinging on to the present instead of looking to the future. Maybe they should take a cue from the rebuilding Raptors instead of moving forward with a team that has been a disaster the past three seasons.

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