As Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinal reports (htp://blogs.sun-sentinel.com/sports_basketball_heat/2008/10/nearly-halfway.html) the Shawn Marion experiment in Miami is not working out so well. Turns out, the team is starting to become more of a half-court squad rather than a fast-breaking unit. He’s made it clear that he doesn't want to play the 4 any longer, but due to the dearth of bigs in Miami, just might find himself playing there this season.
In the West, Steve Luhm and Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune (http://blogs.sltrib.com/jazz/2008/10/jazz-93-trail-blazers-80.htm) report that Utah is currently experimenting with bringing Andrei Kirilenko off the bench. While early returns have been promising, AK47 has had some gripes in the past about not getting the ball enough and is much better suited to playing the 4. Of course, Carlos Boozer is firmly entrenched at the 4 and won’t be given up his starting spot anytime soon.
Obvious trade? No. We’ve been there before and it didn’t happen. What I’m suggesting is sending Boozer and some other pieces (Jarron Collins and Ronnie Price) to Utah for Marion and Mario Chalmers.
Boozer is rumored to be most certainly opting out of his contract at the end of the season and his preferred destination is Miami. He’s a killer in the half-court set and excels at the pick-and-roll. Miami wants him next year, and might as well go about trying to get him for this season to help Wade get through the year. Everybody remembers how well Wade played with a dominant post presence, and though Boozer ain’t no Shaq (ain’t nobody Shaq), he can put up 20 and 10 in a pinch.
Miami lacks any sort of defensive presence at center, and Jarron Collins, though lacking offensive skills like Sarah Palin lacks political acumen, is a tough, gritty defender who instantly becomes their biggest man in the middle. Ronnie Price is young, super athletic and can create his own shot, the one thing Mario Chalmers lacks. He had a pretty good year last season, and has plenty of upside still left to explore.
Chalmers doesn't look like the answer this season for Miami, and, for lack of a better point guard, almost needs to be (sorry Chris Quinn, you get no love). He’ll be a nice understudy for Deron Williams and Brevin Knight and won’t be pressured to perform right away.
Utah will be able to let Kirilenko move back to the power forward spot where he blossomed and dominated. Remember back when he was averaging over 3 blocks and nearly 2 steals, putting up 5X5s with PERs routinely in the 21-23 range? Seems like an eternity ago, but he used to be all the Jazz had, and carried them right to the cusp of the playoffs basically by himself. The Jazz’s frontcourt is lacking in any sort of defensive presence what with Memo Okur and Boozer being weak to non-existent defenders. That changes if you move Kirilenko to the power forward and bring in Marion at the 3.
Marion and Kirilenko are freaks, and the freak in me wants to see what sort of freakish game the two could play together. Put them with the best point guard in the league (co-with Paul) and strong shooters (Korver, Okur, Almond?) and this team would improve across the board. Marion’s rebounding prowess would help to offset the loss of Boozer and would improve the defense. D-Will, Ronnie Brewer, Marion and Kirilenko would be a feisty bunch and would force a lot of steals.
Chalmers was a valued draft pick, but the prize for Miami is Boozer. Price is a nice consolation with upside (who could potentially be just as good if not better than Chalmers) and Collins is a must have due to the complete lack of anything resembling a center. The team improves in all their needed areas (inside scoring, depth at center, half court offense)
The Jazz improve their defense and become a faster team. Though they lose some toughness in the middle, they have upside bigs in Kyrylo Fesenko and Kosta Koufos (though, they’ll have to learn on the fly).
Boozer apparently wants out anyway, so the Jazz might as well get a championship caliber piece for him. Besides, it’s not like he did anything of relevance against the Lakers in the playoffs and the Jazz still pushed the Western Conference champs to 6 games.
If Marion decides to walk in the offseason, the Jazz will still have picked up a valuable piece in Chalmers. And there is always the possibility that Boozer pulls, well, a Boozer on the Heat (especially if they have a losing season) and skips back over to the Jazz.
It’s a scenario where both teams will greatly benefit from the trade even if they fail because both Marion and Boozer are free agents after this season.