Disgruntled Marion Seeks TradeIf you picked up a copy of Lindy's Pro Basketball, then Shawn Marion's trade request did not surprise you. In my Phoenix Suns preview, I wrote, "There is a tendency to overlook his all-around contributions--and Marion has a tendency to pout at least once a year about that." Later, I added, "One would think that anyone would want to play for Coach D'Antoni and with Nash but periodically, Stoudemire and Marion grumble about their roles and/or how much credit they receive (or don't receive) for the team's success."
However, you may be surprised to hear Marion's preferred destination: the L.A. Lakers. Marion told Sean Deveney of SportingNews.com that he and Kobe Bryant have talked about this possibility, adding, "I've been friends with Kobe for a while, so we talk here and there, anyway." Marion told Deveney that he is very enthusiastic about the opportunity to team up with Bryant: "Why wouldn't I be? You have a great organization, great ownership there with the Lakers. I don't see no problems with playing there." Marion disagrees with anyone who contends that he would not put up his usual numbers in Phil Jackson's triangle offense: "I think I would fit right in. People talk about the triangle offense all the time, like it is impossible. But it's an offense. Wherever you play, you have to learn the offense. It's not that complicated. You pass, you cut, you slash. Offense is offense. And I would love to play with Kobe."
That last statement--and the fact that Marion mentioned that he has been friends with Bryant for quite some time--flies in the face of the belief that many fans have that Bryant is disliked around the NBA; that is an image that many members in the media have tried to portray--going so far as to intimate that good players would not want to come to L.A. to play alongside Bryant--but it is not true. Bryant is widely respected around the league as the best player in the game. I don't know or care exactly how many friends that he has in the NBA or if he has more or less friends than a typical NBA player does, but portrayals of him as some kind of pariah are untrue; if that ever had any veracity, it was only in the immediate wake of his arrival in the NBA straight out of high school, when there was an obvious age gap between Bryant and the other players--but that was a decade ago and is hardly relevant now when Bryant has established himself as the league's best player and a three-time champion.
The Marion story flies in the face of two pieces of "conventional wisdom" that the mainstream media touts: 1) Everyone in the NBA would love to play with Steve Nash and would accept less money to do so; 2) Nobody in the NBA wants to play with Kobe Bryant. Therefore, rather than simply reporting the facts, it will not be too long before many media outlets spin this story to fit in with "conventional wisdom." It will be interesting to watch this unfold and see if the spin becomes an attack on Marion for being "selfish," an attack on Marion for not being that valuable of a player or if somehow someone figures out a way to blame this all on Bryant. Rest assured that the face value facts--Marion wants to be traded from Phoenix to the Lakers--will not be simply reported as such for very long.
posted by David Friedman @ 6:04 PM