Now Everyone Loves Shawn Marion

Jerry Brown of the East Valley Tribune talked to some Suns about Shawn Marion's trade request:

"It's sad to hear he wants to go," Nash said after Wednesday's workout with his teammates on the Suns practice court. "We have a great team, we're very close to winning a championship and we want everyone on board.

"All his teammates love him. Apparently he wants to be traded, but if he wants to come back, he's got a bunch of guys who want him to be part of this. We have one goal, and when we get together (Monday) that will be the focus - not what's happened or what's been said in the papers."

And I mentioned earlier that I talked to Hubie Brown about Shawn Marion, too. Brown raved about Marion, saying he has watched him play a lot in person, including plenty during last year's playoffs. "There are very few players in the league who can fill a stat sheet like that," says Brown. "And name me one play they run for him. I mean, would you trade him?"

Brown's thought is that it would be best for all involved if Marion is back in Phoenix and playing hard.

One point: Marion has one of the biggest contracts in the sport, and it's unlikely many, if any, teams will have that kind of cap room next summer. So Marion's hammer over the Suns -- his ability to opt out next summer -- might not be as powerful as it might have originally seemed. We don't yet know what everyone's cap numbers will be next summer, but it's entirely possible the Suns will be the high bidder next summer. And they're not offering a contract extension right now.

If Marion gets traded, though, he might be able to get that extension from his new team now, without having to test the free agent market in a year when dollars will likely be tight. If the Suns want Shawn Marion for the next two years, and I assume they do, I'm not sure there's much he can really do about it. Maybe that's why Mike D'Antoni tells the East Valley Tribune's Scott Bordow:

"I think Shawn will be here Monday, and I think he'll be ready to go and we'll be fine," D'Antoni said. ... "I know Shawn. He's a great guy. I don't think there will be any residue."