Monday, January 19, 2009

Rators Game Day - O'neil for Marion: is it happening? Whats in it for the Raps?

The Raptors play a rare 2pm Monday afternoon game today against the Hawks (its MLK day in the US).

However the latest around the team isn't what's happening on the court its what is potentially happening behind the scenes.

Reports have the Raptors shipping Jermaine O'neil to the Heat for Sean Marion with the only sticking point being how O'neil knee holds up in the next few games. Word is that Pat Riley wants to make sure he is getting somebody that can contribute before pulling the trigger.

The latest report has Riley saying that there is no deal imminent but we all know where there's smoke there's fire and the writing is on the wall for O'neil.

After their loss to the Suns yesterday the Raptors are 10 games under .500 and its looking more and more bleak that they will see the playoffs.

Colangelo needs to make a change and this Marion deal is just what the Doctor ordered.

What does Marion bring to this team?

Well other than his 17 million dollar expiring contract he brings the Athleticism and rebounding presence the raptors so desperately need from the wing.

According to John Hollinger of ESPN Sean Marion is the BEST REBOUNDING small forward in the entire league statistically. Also 45% of his shots come from the inside. Consider that Moon shoots inside at a rate of 10%, Kapono at 23% and Parker at 15% and this is obviously a HUGE upgrade.

Marion's contract is the most attractive part of this deal though. The raptors would have to take on Marcus Banks terrible 4.5 million contract in the deal but that's a small price to pay to have 17 million in cap flexibility this off season.

Also getting Marion now allows them to audition him on the wing for half a season. If he provides what they need and fits in then they can always resign him to a reduced contract (no way he is going to command 17 million this off season).

The one downside to this deal is that the Raptors do lose a big inside presence in O'neil. Bargnani has played very well over this last 10 game stretch but that doesn't change the fact that his game is mostly perimeter based. As such Bargs is 56th out of 57 centers in the league in rebounding.

I still make this deal in a heartbeat though. O'neil never really fit in here and something drastic has to be done.

I just hope Riley doesn't get cold feet and back out of this deal because in all honesty I wouldn't take o'neil.

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