Did Suns make a good move? Shaq-diesel’s tank not empty yet

By By Chris Kamrani

By Chris Kamrani

Many tall tales have taught us during the years to not antagonize the 7-foot-1, 325-lb. guy who has a knack for making people “eat their words.” Since four-time NBA champ and media-dubbed “flop” Shaquille O’Neal was shipped to The Valley of the Sun, a cluster of critics have crawled out of their cave dwellings to openly voice their discontent.

Hold on a second. You’re telling me you’re more hot and bothered about this move than the coup d’√©tat that Mitch Kupchak pulled for Pau Gasol? Please!

Phoenix should proceed to kindly thank all those cave critics.

“I’m very upset,” O’Neal said. “You just don’t really want to get me upset. When I’m upset, I’m known to do certain things — like win championships.”

Although many will question this sudden move by the Suns’ front office, the reality is simple. The coveted run ‘n’ gun of the Phoenix Suns wasn’t going to win a title. Shawn Marion was not happy being a third or fourth option on offense, let alone being the only guy to consistently play defense. Marion couldn’t be left to guard the likes of Tim Duncan, Carlos Boozer, Gasol, etc., if Amare Stoudemire ever got in foul trouble.

The fine print also read an opt-out clause in The Matrix’s contract. So, Suns general manager Steve Kerr had to contemplate a few things — either try to win with an undersized, speedy team, or go for the end-all, be-all. The result of that contemplation — “The Big Aristotle.”

The scouting report on O’Neal is that he’s washed-up, past his prime or any other clich√© critics wanted to toss out. O’Neal’s recent bout with tedious injuries didn’t help the cause too much, either. The primary thought on everyone’s mind was, “How will Shaq run with Nash & Co.?”

The answer is actually quite obvious: He will and he won’t.

Kerr did not send one of the most beloved faces of his franchise for just anyone. He wanted the Diesel. He wanted the guy who delivers the goods.

Will he get that guy? That remains to be seen. People do what they do best: jump to conclusions. But who in their right mind wants to play Shaq when he’s having fun? You’ll find that response a giant goose egg. After governing “Showtime” in Los Angeles and scintillating South Beach, Fla., Shaq Fu craves to complement his humongous thumb — the only digit that lacks a profound piece of championship bling.

Will he have a hard time adjusting? Affirmative. He’s going to have to have war-like flashbacks of running the break in those Stockton-esque Orlando Magic shorts.

More than anything, Shaq brings experience and mental toughness to a club that has been on the cusp for nearly three seasons. Playing alongside fellow ageless wonders such as Steve Nash and Grant Hill, not to mention incredibly athletic, talented youngsters such as Stoudemire and Leandro Barbosa, Shaq is surrounded by what is potentially his most-talented cast of teammates yet.

When dealing with O’Neal, there have been all sorts of questions. Can he adjust to the Suns’ offense? Will he thrive playing with Nash? Can he be what David Robinson was to Duncan for Stoudemire?

When the Big Aristotle first appeared as a Sun — which was as a spectator — he proceeded to lift his hand to the sky and point to one of his championship rings.

Shaq made a promise to Miami and surely made good on that promise. He also told Nash, “I will not let you down.” According to Shaq’s track record, Nash’s immediate response should’ve been, “Thank you, Aristotle.”

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