Regardless of whether or not the Dallas Mavericks really want to trade for Shaq, the latest rumors of where The Diesel will end up for the last year of his $20M per year contract makes sense.
Shaq admires the way Mark Cuban runs the Mavs. And in the West, any team that is not named “Lakers” is a pretender, not a contender. If Jason Kidd returns to the Mavs as a free agent with a much reduced salary, and if Josh Howard can stop being a flake, Dallas could lay claim to being the second best in the West for 2009-10.
Now to what really matters to readers of this blog. How do the Suns benefit? As you all know, I am against the Suns getting rid of any of their Big 3 (Shaq, Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire). Nevertheless, the reality is that Suns majority owner Robert Saver is simply going to inflict his will into making a trade happen for either Shaq or Stoudemire or both.
Of the two, Shaq has the most trade value. Believe it or not, he’s actually less of a health risk than Stoudemire. And productive centers are much harder to come by. Most importantly to Sarver, trading Shaq will save the Suns the most money.
The most logical Suns-Mavs deal is Shaq for “Ericka” Dampier and Jerry Stackhouse. The Suns will immediately save $2.6M in salaries for 2009-10. Then Stackhouse is only guaranteed $2M for next season, so the Suns can buy out his contract and save another $5.25M. The end result is a $7.85M cut in payroll plus any potential luxury tax savings. There may not be any other trade available to the Suns that will save as much money as this trade would.
From a basketball perspective, Dampier is not the kind of player to get the fans excited. However, given the lack of size on the Suns roster, anyone over 6-9 would be a welcome addition to at least offer a few minutes of defense per game. And the driving force behind all this trade talk is that Sarver will not let a basketball decision get in the way of his ultimate goal of saving money by any means necessary.