Henry over at Truehoop has been all over this one as usual, but Suns forward Shawn Marion has gone public with a trade demand, claiming that he's gotten tired of the trade rumors that have swirled around him basically since Phoenix signed him to a highly inadvisable long-term contract, the sort of which are always in fashion in the NBA. The talented-yet-enigmatic (a great sports euphemism for "moody asshole") Marion seems to be under the impression that the best way to stop hearing trade rumors about yourself is to publicly ask to be traded, but we're not here to interrogate that logic.
Marion's a really, really good player who'll certainly catch on somewhere. Over at CNNSi, Marty Burns has written a column speculating where that place might be, and Simmons has followed suit. A few months ago, during the dark days of desperation, I even wrote a post (photo has apparently been removed; go figure) passionately arguing for the C's to trade for the talented-yet-enigmatic one. Truthfully though, the most likely outcome is that Marion will stay put in Phoenix, and this whole episode will just go down as another footnote in the case for Marion as a prickly malcontent, a case which honestly seems to be getting stronger and stronger. I mean, I'm not really sure what situation Marion sees himself in that'll be better than the one he's in now. Sure, he could go to a crummy team and maybe put up slightly bigger numbers and have more billboards with his face on them, but he won't get the "recognition" or "respect" he so clearly craves. Rumor has it he's thinking Lakers, which would keep him in the larger spotlight, but if this guy gets pissy about sharing the stage with Steve Nash then it's probably best to keep him as far as possible from Monsieur Mamba. Maybe Utah is a possibility, since Kirilenko wants out as well, but I can't help but feel like the Jazz are going to have to offer up a hell of a lot more than just AK-47 to pry Marion from the Suns at this point.
And this leads to my other observation, one directed both towards Marion and Kirilenko: what the hell are these guys doing asking for trades NOW? It's practically October! I mean, I might be missing some sort of power strategy here (seriously, if I am, someone please jump in and correct me), but this really seems a foolish time to start getting all dramatic about how you've decided your days in X city are done. I mean, if you pull out that card at the beginning of the summer then at least your team has a solid 3-4 months to look into mollifying the situation (even if, in the case of the Lakers, your solution is to stick your fingers in your ears and hum loudly to yourself). Both Marion and Kirilenko have given their teams roughly a month to figure out how to trade two of the NBA's more undesirable contracts, and in the case of Marion, one of his team's genuinely indispensable players. Make no mistake, the Suns will not trade Shawn Marion for eighty cents on the dollar. That's why, if you're the Suns, you're outraged right now: if they'd known this back in June, don't you think Steve Kerr might have approached the offseason just a little differently? And the same goes for the Jazz, who are all of a sudden having to deal with reverse-defection threats in the wake of their best season in years. It doesn't make sense for anyone, since the most likely situation here is that Marion will be in the Suns' lineup in a month, with lip service paid to reconciliation but with him secretly hating the organization and them secretly hating him back even more, and every Suns fan knowing in his/her heart of hearts that the Matrix doesn't want to be there. Awesome.
As a postscript, if Marion had just managed to keep his mouth shut and stick it out in Phoenix for another year or two, there's a good shot he'll win a title, and then all of a sudden with a few more good years he starts sneaking his way into Hall of Fame conversations. Don't look now, but Marion has a 19 and 10 line for his career (guys have certainly gotten in with less), plus he'll have that nice sheen of winning at least one ring with the team he spent most/all of his career with, and voters eat that shit up. And then guess what, Shawn? You're finally getting that respect and recognition. Granted, it's a long shot, but it's honestly a no-shot if he goes to Memphis or Utah or LA or anywhere else that he doesn't have Steve Nash feeding him the ball on the break every night. The primary knock on Marion is that he can't handle the ball and therefore needs a point guard to take advantage of his explosiveness, and right now he's playing with the best point guard since Stockton and instead he wants to go help "develop" Jordan Farmar. Who ever said NBA players were selfish?