This is a deal that will undoubtedly have an impact off the court. Marion's contract is up after the season, and though there is a chance Toronto could re-sign him next summer, he would have to take a contract at a fraction of the $17 million he makes this year. If Marion comes in and gets some chemistry together with Chris Bosh and point guard Jose Calderon, the Raptors will be open to keeping him. "That's going to be the key," Bosh said. "We don't have a lot of time left in the season. But we still could make a playoff push."
But the bigger off-court impact figures to be in Miami, which has committed to O'Neal for this year and next. Moving Banks, who is signed through 2011, was vital for Pat Riley — he made it known around the league that any deal including Marion would have to include Banks, which was one reason a deal with Phoenix for Amare Stoudemire was not going to work. The team now is virtually uncommitted to any contracts in the summer of 2010, though they'll obviously keep Michael Beasley, and probably Daequan Cook and Mario Chalmers, too.
The payroll, though, is packed for next season, which means the Heat won't be players on the 2009 free-agent market. That's bad news for Utah forward Carlos Boozer, a free-agent-to-be who had been rumored to be a target of Miami's since last summer. (Sorry, Carlos, South Beach ain't happening.)
So everything is shaping up nicely in the accounting books. But what about on the floor? How much better can Jermaine O'Neal make the Heat?
Wade said they're much better. "This gives us a little bit more of a stable lineup," Wade said. "This puts us in a position where we have a legitimate big man in the middle, a shot-blocker and a rebounder."
True, if O'Neal can do those things — block shots, be a presence inside, get rebounds — Miami is greatly improved. But O'Neal has had trouble staying on the floor. Over the last five years, he has missed 35 percent of his teams' games.
And whatever help he gives defensively must be balanced against the potential for offensive disruption. O'Neal's shooting percentage bounced back up over 47 percent in his short time in Toronto, but there are always concerns about him offensively. "He has done a better job of working for position at the basket and finishing in close," said one Eastern Conference scout. "But if you look at his numbers, he is still struggling to shoot on either block. He is not a very good passer, and he's turnover-prone. He is one-dimensional on the offensive side."
Still, it's all relative. Consider that the Heat have been running a very flawed set of centers onto the floor night after night — Joel Anthony, Udonis Haslem, Jamaal Magloire — and you realize that, no matter O'Neal's limitations, he is a very big upgrade. "He does not have to do too much," Wade said. "If he just comes in and plays defense and fits into the system, that's exactly what we need."
Tim Duncan scored the first five points of overtime, and the San Antonio Spurs rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 104-93 Saturday night and move a win away from the NBA Finals.
Video: NBA from NBC Sports
DPS: Is it really all about the rings?
DPS: Dan Patrick talks about Phil Jackson's comments about starting a team with Bill Russell now because of his championships and brings up the great question of, if it's all about championships, how come we don't talk about guys like Sam Jones, Frank Ramsey or John Havlicek who all have multiple rings?
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