Division-rival Miami has made the first step at rebuilding. Media reports indicate the Heat have agreed to send Shaquille O'Neal to the Phoenix Suns for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks.
Check out Bright Side of the Sun for the view of this trade from a Suns perspective. Since they're a Western team we've already played twice this year, the deal doesn't impact us in that regard. But Miami, with the league's worst record, will be in great shape to make a free-agent splash next summer. Marion is expected to exercise his opt-out clause, which would free up href="6 million in cap space. That, combined with the contracts of Jason Williams ($8 million) and Ricky Davis ($6 million) will give the Heat plenty of room to maneuver under the cap. Additionally, since they're unlikely to make the playoffs this season, they'll be able to add a high-quality lottery pick to team with whichever free-agent they sign and with Dwyane Wade. Indeed, as Ira Winderman writes, Pat Riley is a f---ing evil genius.
I may have paraphrased the last sentence just a little bit.
Stay tuned to Bright Side of the Sun and to Winderman's blog for more Heat/Suns trade coverage. Also stay tuned to 3QC for a Magic/Nets game preview and for a look at which positions the Magic need to improve if they hope to contend for a title.