Steve Kerr, Newest Endorser of Bad Idea Jeans.

I’m not particularly sure what the goal of obtaining an aged Shaquille O’Neal from the Miami Heat in exchange for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks does for the Phoenix Suns. Ric Bucher just told me it has something to do with “defensive presence” as I was watching ESPN News, and I suppose that’s believable if you consider that the Suns’ M.O. involves scoffing at every common sense conception of “defense” in the Association.

Now, this deal still has some stages to go through — Shaq would need to pass a physical, blah blah blah — but it’s fairly clear both sides want to get this done. I can’t help but think Miami is fleecing Phoenix big time. If the Suns had really wanted an impact center to provide defensive help, they could have fought harder in the KG Sweepstakes before the Celts roped him in from Minnesota or seriously talked to Memphis about Pau Gasol (although the issue of getting Marion to go to either the Wolves or the Grizzlies would have been a problem.) Now you get a declining, overweight, and oft-injured O’Neal with a massive contract who does not fit in the established offensive structure powered by Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire (never mind that to obtain such a defensive boost, you take away another weapon in Marion.)

I suppose a body tethered to the paint at 7’2″ and 300+ bulk counts as the best defensive presence the Suns have had in years; I just don’t see why Kerr has cut off his team’s nose to spite its face. Feel free to pencil Phoenix in for a first-round loss in the playoffs. No one will blame you.

Photo: AP/Douglas C. Pizac

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