All the talk has finally culminated in a move, as the Toronto Raptors have sent both Jermaine O'Neal and Jamario Moon to the Miami Heat for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks.
-instantly they have the best defender they've EVER had (and I mean in franchise history) in Marion so that's an improvement. Plus his expiring contract, and the very unlikely possibility he will resign with Toronto next season, allows GM Bryan Colangelo to walk around with an extra $17 million in the offseason to fill some holes/extend or resign some players.
-Banks is another Point Guard and likely one a step up from Will Solomon, so there are now more options for the back-up role when Calderon goes down. Until the play of Solomon and Roko Ukic becomes more consistent, you really need as many options as you can to choose from at that position coming off the bench (although it's likely this will spell the end to Solomon's playing time).
-with the improved play of Andrea Bargnani, finally starting to show signs of blossoming into the player Colangelo hoped he would become, O'Neal became expendable - especially with new Interim Head Coach Jay Triano's desire to pick up the pace on the Court. Toronto has just become faster.
-after the retirement of Alonzo Mourning they needed a presence down low and that is certainly what JO provides. and O'Neal does suit the style that Miami is playing right now, so as long as he can stay healthy and keep producing the way he has as of late this should be a happy marriage of player and team.
-Moon is a very great pick-up if for his contract alone! ($427,163 expiring this season).
-the whole salary cap thing works in Miami's favour for 2010, when they'll hope to retain all world Dwayne Wade and stop a flight to Chicago, New York or Toronto...alright I'm kidding about that last one, but man that'd be sweet!
-Marion is injury prone, all the benefits gained thru this trade (for this season anyways) can be lost with a serious injury.
-Banks has a rather large contract ($4.75 mil for another 2 years) for a player who likely won't amount to a key contributor on this Toronto team.
-same-same, O'Neal is injury prone as he has also missed a number of games this season. With a team like Miami who is actually in the playoff hunt a loss like that could hurt them.
-Moon will not replace Marion, he's like the Caffeine-Free Diet Crystal Pepsi version of Shawn Marion! And he can be quite inconsistent from time to time on both ends of the court, the main reason he has lost so much time this season to Joey Graham. His contract is worth it unlike Banks, but much like Banks this isn't a player to sell the farm on.
There's issues for both teams here that may result in this trade becoming a dud, however there's also some great potential as well! Two talented former star players nursing injuries all season long with two bench players who won't change a game out there, that's what this trade amounts to. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, and if this is the start of a push or a firesale for Toronto...