Friday, February 13, 2009

O'Neil For Marion - Done and Done

The Raptors Traded Jermaine O'neil and Jamario Moon to the Miami Heat for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. The rumor of this deal has been around for a while now. I also suggested it as the best possible scenario for the Raptors even before the rumors were around.

What does the deal mean? Well its a salary dump for Toronto. The O'neil experiment was not working here and Colangelo realized it and did everything he could to gain some cap flexibility for this upcoming off season. For Miami it means that they gain a formidable inside presence to pair with Dwayne wade in the hopes of making a deep playoff run plus 2010 cap space.

Lets not forget however the bit pieces in this trade. The Raptors are taking on a more than hefty salary (4.26 million for 3 yrs) in Marcus banks. In turn they GIVE up their best contract in Moon (1 yr 711,000). Banks will be used to shore up the point guard position but his contract is a bad one and he isn't really going to impact this team at all. He will likely be relegated to 3rd string PG behind Jose and Roko. The Raps lose some size in the middle and until Humphries is back I think its going to be a struggle some nights to defend the paint. Plus now raptors fans will be forced to watch Marion toss up ugly jumpers instead of moon. Lets just hope Marion takes it to the rack and rebounds instead of flicking up jumper after jumper.

The thing about Colangelo is that he isn't afraid to takes chances. But perhaps the BEST thing about him is that he is also quick to admit when he was wrong and do something to correct it. He gambled with the O'Neil and it didn't work. He traded him. He signed Fred Jones, it didn't work , he traded him.

Ultimately this deal comes down to a 27 game audition for Marion. The Raptors get to try him out on the wing and see if he fits. Their starting 5 of Jose, Bosh, Bargnani, Marion, Parker, if healthy does now look rather formidable. The Bench is still awful though and does not get any better with this deal. If Marion doesn't fit in or doesn't resign then BC has 17 million in cap space to use on the 2009 free agent market.

I do wondering however, if Colangelo wants the cap space from Marion's contract so he can make a trade in the off season instead of trying to sign a free agent. If rumors are true and no big name players want to sign here in the it makes sense for BC to try to get somebody that is already under contract here via trade. Remember if a team is UNDER the salary cap they don't have to trade contract for contract they can take back a player for as much as they are under the cap. Word is that in the tough economic times teams will be looking to shed salary and BC thinks he can get a quality player for basically nothing. Not really a bad strategy.

I will leave you with this however. Would it not be ironic if the Heat used the cap space from O'neil's contract to sign Chris Bosh away from the Raptors in 2010. Stranger things have happened and Bosh would probably like the chance to play with Wade out in Miami.

Update - Miami Sun Sentinel is reporting that the raptors included a conditional 1st round pick with this deal. That is stupid if they did but probably necessary to get a deal done. After all there probably weren't a lot of teams looking to take on O'neil.

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