AROUND THE LEAGUE
Citing a need for “someone in the middle,” Miami Heat President Pat Riley on Friday traded forward Shawn Marion and point guard Marcus Banks to the Toronto Raptors for center Jermaine O’Neal, forward Jamario Moon and a future first-round pick.
“Somewhere you’ve got to get honest with yourself and say if you’re going to compete with the big boys, you need someone in the middle,” Riley said. “It was the best move for now, competitively. And it sweeps the table for 2010.”
The trade provides the height-challenged Heat with a proven post presence in O’Neal, a five-time All Star and a definite upgrade on Jamaal Magloire, Joel Anthony and Mark Blount.
For the future, with O’Neal’s massive contract expiring after next season, it leaves Miami with a considerable amount of salary cap space for the 2010 off-season, when the Heat’s Dwyane Wade, as well as LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Joe Johnson and other A-list players can be free agents.
According to a source with details of the deal, the Heat will receive a first-round pick from Toronto in 2010, unless that pick is among the first 14 selections.
Should Toronto be in the draft lottery in 2010, in essence not making next season’s playoffs, the Heat would receive a 2010 second-round pick from the Raptors. The first-round pick then would be sent to the Heat in any year, from 2011 through 2014, that it is not among the first 14 selections (the next year Toronto makes the playoffs).
Raptors General Manager Bryan Colangelo called the deal “a win-win.”
“Shawn is a piece that should be given an opportunity to fit in with the team,” said Colangelo, who worked with Marion while a Phoenix Suns executive.
“He’s not necessarily a rental player.”
Hall of Fame finalists
Michael Jordan, John Stockton and David Robinson were among 16 finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Friday.
NBA coaches Don Nelson and Jerry Sloan and Rutgers women’s Coach C. Vivian Stringer also made the cut from a field of 164 nominees, as did former NBA stars Dennis Johnson, Chris Mullin and Bernard King and two-time WNBA MVP Cynthia Cooper.
The election announcement will be made April 6 at the NCAA Final Four in Detroit, with enshrinement in September at the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. All 16 finalists can be elected, according to Hall policy.
Jordan, regarded by many as the greatest player ever, led the Bulls to six NBA titles and won an NCAA championship at North Carolina. He was a five-time NBA MVP, a six-time NBA Finals MVP and won two Olympic gold medals.
Stockton retired as the NBA’s career leader in assists and steals, and he also won two Olympic gold medals. He and Jordan were teammates on the 1992 U.S. Olympic Dream Team, and now they’re poised to enter the Hall together.
“I mean, those two are a lock,” Robinson said. “But think about the rest of these guys. Who’s not going to get in?”
Other finalists include former Golden State coach Al Attles, who was nominated as a contributor; Bob Hurley Sr., who has more than 900 wins at St. Anthony’s High in New Jersey; and Vladimir Kondrashin, who coached the Soviet Union to the 1972 Olympic gold medal, defeating the U.S. in a controversial final.